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How Bad Is The Gang Problem In The Phoenix Area?

One of the more surprising budget items slashed during Arizona's legislative session was the $1.6 million in funding to combat gangs in Maricopa County.

Sherrif Paul Penzone was vocal in his displeasure about it, calling it “partisan” and saying loss of these public funding dollars would hurt the community his officers serve.

ICE and the Department of Homeland Security operation recently arrested several gang members in Arizona involved high-level crimes.

So just how bad is the gang problem in Arizona, and more specifically, here in the Valley? What gangs are law enforcement officers eyeing and with what tactics?

Charles Katz, director of the Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety at ASU, helped answer those questions.

Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.