77th Annual Meeting

GANGS AND ILLEGAL DRUGS

WHEREAS, more than 50 mayors and police chiefs met at The U.S. Conference of Mayors' Action Forum on Crime in Philadelphia August 5-6, 2008, to develop an action agenda on crime; and

WHEREAS, following that meeting a working group of mayors and police chiefs drafted a national action agenda on crime; and

WHEREAS, that national action agenda includes a series of findings and recommendations relating to gangs and illegal drugs; and

WHEREAS, the mayors and police chiefs found that:

  • Gangs and illegal drugs are inextricably connected and drive crime and violence in cities across the country. The federal government must be fully engaged with state and local authorities if gangs and drugs are to be controlled.

  • Gangs are America's domestic terrorists, as evidenced by their illegal gun trafficking, illegal drug distribution, human trafficking, and murders. They have become sophisticated criminal organizations with extensive interstate communications networks that are frequently used to coordinate robust illegal activity.

  • Both gangs and the drug trade are national and international in scope. Indeed, there are more gang members in the United States today than there are state and local law enforcement officers.

  • Efforts to successfully control gangs and drugs require a strong intergovernmental partnership and a combination of tough enforcement and prevention measures,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors adopts as its policy the initiatives relating to gangs and illegal drugs called for by the mayors and police chiefs in the National Action Agenda on Crime:

  • In 2009 and the years ahead the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal agencies must approach gangs in the same way that they approach organized crime, and must assign them the same high priority. For most of its 100 years the FBI has placed a high priority on fighting organized crime.

  • Together, federal, state and local authorities must respond to the growing problem of youth gangs through stepped-up enforcement and prosecution of the gangs that exist, and through stepped-up prevention and intervention programs that provide young people with alternatives to gang membership and gang violence.

  • Federal, state, and local enforcement agencies must work collaboratively to undermine gangs and gang culture. The federal government should establish anti-gang task forces, similar to those that have been established to fight Internet crimes. This would improve intergovernmental collaboration and provide financial assistance to local police departments in areas with substantial gang problems, since officers' salaries and benefits could be reimbursed while they are on federal assignment.

  • Both federal and state courts should have the option of sending convicted gang members to federal prisons located in other parts of the country in an effort to disrupt gang members' support systems and to give them an opportunity to separate themselves from the gangs with which they have been affiliated.

  • Because the federal government has not been effective in the interdiction of illegal drugs at our borders, it has a constitutional responsibility to help stop the use and sale of drugs in our cities. A federal-state-local partnership specifically focused on this problem is required.

  • For years drug courts have demonstrated the ability to help individuals address their drug addiction by providing alternatives to incarceration which combine strict supervision with appropriate treatment and support services. Funding for the drug court program should be increased, along with funding for the treatment and support services essential to the program's success.

  • The federal government must recognize and address the onslaught of methamphetamine and prescription drug problems in the country today, including problems associated with trafficking and use.