Record number of gang members behind bars
2013 has been a bumper year for gangs, but there are more members locked up than ever before, national police say
A record number of gang members are behind bars, according to figures from Rigspolitiet.
The national police force says that 370 members of biker gangs and other gangs are currently incarcerated on charges including murder, drugs, and violence.
Michael Ask, the head of Rigspolitiets Nationale Efterforskningscenter (NEC), the police division responsible for crime prevention and international investigations, told Ritzau that the record number of prisoners is due to the gang fighting that was rampant earlier this year.
“The record is due to the gang conflict from the spring, and now we are seeing the results of the police’s work,” he said.
NEC says it has 1,780 individuals registered as either being in, or having connections to, a known gang.
Busy year for gangs
Denmark’s gangs have been very active in 2013. In the first half of the year, police registered 49 gang-related shootings in public areas and confiscated 421 guns - 89 of which were confirmed to be owned by gang members. In the spring, shootings between rival gangs Værebros Hårde Kerne and Loyal to Familia killed two people and caused several injuries.
The nation also recently saw a new gang, the Dutch motorcycle gang Satudarah, move in to Danish territory, and members of the Bandidos biker gang have been terrorising residents in the Copenhagen suburb of Vanløse.
Government and police fight back
The ongoing gang violence led police to institute – and repeatedly extend - so-called ‘stop and search zones’, where officers could stop anyone in the area and check them for weapons or drugs.
In October, the government presented a 200 million kroner plan to deal with gang crime. Among the proposals were increasing the penalty for carrying a loaded gun in public and denying release or probation to imprisoned gang members if there is an ongoing conflict.
The plan also includes proposals aimed at helping criminals escape from their gang connections, including paying for the removal of gang-related tattoos and a suggestion that former gang members should be given preferential treatment when seeking employment.