Gang activity is increasing in Indianapolis as West Coast gang members come to see the city as an appealing place to operate, Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said Thursday.Brizzi said that conclusion -- part of which he reached during a recent trip to Los Angeles to speak with authorities there about gang activity -- should prompt the state Legislature to fight back by passing tougher laws. "What they are saying in Los Angeles is they're calling Indianapolis 'Little L.A.,' " Brizzi said. "Literally, gang members are coming over from the West Coast, dealing in methamphetamine, dealing in different kinds of drugs, and making Indianapolis their home because it's still virgin territory. It's still open."Indianapolis police Officer Carlos Trincado concurs that gang activity in Indianapolis is becoming more frequent and more violent.
"We know it's not just about knives or graffiti. Now we've gotten to the point where they're using guns," said Trincado, who runs a program that educates west-side Indianapolis parents and community groups about gangs.Brizzi said Trincado said they support two pieces of proposed legislation aimed at tackling gang problems. One would make penalties stiffer for any crime committed while participating in gang activity. The other would make it illegal to possess fake identification -- something that authorities say is carried by many gang members.The legislation would "give us, as prosecutors, more teeth to send these guys to prison for a long time," Brizzi said.
Indianapolis police Officer Carlos Trincado holds a jersey that he says refers to a large gang and can be bought in some Latino stores in the city. "They will sell it to the kids without the parents knowing what it meant," said Trincado, who believes gang activity in Indianapolis is becoming more frequent and more violent.