White supremacist gangs growing in NC, officials say

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— Gang activity overall is on the rise in North Carolina, and the sharpest increase is among white supremacist groups, law enforcement officials said Friday.

The major gangs operating in North Carolina are still the Bloods, the Crips and the Gangsters, or Folk Nation, but Tony Taylor, who heads the Special Operations and Intelligence Section of the state Department of Public Safety, said the rise in white supremacy groups is a new development.

“We’re not sure what’s causing it. It’s just a trend we’re starting to see, and we’re trying to figure that out,” Taylor told members of the state Emergency Response Commission. “We don’t know what’s causing it other than this one group that seems to be standing out right now – Bound for Glory.”

Russell Jackson, a DPS intelligence agent, said national groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Pride also are expanding across the state, including inside the prison system.

“Not only are we seeing them increasing in numbers, but we’re seeing them increasing in violence and violent behavior,” Jackson said.

Law enforcement agencies in other states also have reported similar growth. Organizations that track hate groups have noted increased activity in such groups, even though many social media sites made an effort to block white supremacist groups in the wake of a fatal clash in Charlottesville, Va., last year.

Many white supremacy groups engage in the same criminal enterprises as other gangs, Taylor said, and some gangs have even developed their own dark web apps to communicate out of sight of law enforcement. But he said recruiting is still mostly done via social media or in person.

“Usually, you can see it,” Taylor said. “You see your kid hanging out with people you just know they should not be hanging out with. You start seeing some of the social media stuff that doesn’t look quite right. That’s something I would encourage all parents to do – pay attention to that, because that’s where we get a lot of information from.”1

Law enforcement agencies in most of North Carolina’s 100 counties say overall gang membership is either increasing or holding steady, officials said.

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