U.S. Strategy to Combat the Threat of Criminal gangs from Central American and Mexico [open pdf - 96KB]
"Certain criminal gangs pose significant public safety and security threats to the countries in which they operate, including the United States. Of particular concern to the United States, they threaten the U.S. regional interest in fostering stable democracies with free and vibrant economies and the domestic interest in protecting U.S. citizens and communities from the ravages of gang violence and associated criminal activities. U.S. Federal law enforcement agencies consider such gangs as transnational criminal organizations. These transnational gang members are currently migrating to all regions of the United States and are proliferating in areas, particularly rural areas, where neither law enforcement nor the communities they serve are accustomed to addressing these types of gang and criminal dynamics. Historically, such gangs are notoriously violent and exercise a tremendous amount of threats and intimidation, backed up by extreme violence in order to carry out and further their objectives. Gangs such as these are involved in various crimes of opportunity such as drug trafficking, extortion, human smuggling/trafficking and prostitution, thereby making them extremely dangerous and unpredictable. In addition, this threat is amplified by the gangs' recruitment of children near schools, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities, targeting those as young as eight years old."