By Robert Brzenchek, PoliceOne Member
With the recent arrests of the more than 600 suspected gang members in approximately 179 cities by the Homeland Security Department — quite possibly the largest crackdown on street gangs by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement — the old cliché “knowledge is power” comes to mind.
Everyone who has worn the badge has a mandate to serve and protect. In addition, everyone who has worn the badge wants to go home to their families after their shift. Striking this balance requires every tool in the toolbox being made readily available. Knowledge is one of the most important tools we have available to us as law enforcers.
Here, I aim to pass along some knowledge about a little known group called the Juggalos and the threat to the public and law enforcement.
1. Who are the Juggalos?
There has been a paradigm shift in law enforcement addressing the nation’s gang problems. In short, the criminal justice system is moving beyond an incarceration-centric approach to rehabilitation of offenders. Law enforcement has a vested interest in deterring juveniles from joining gangs.
Over the past nine years, leftist groups have aggressively recruited from middle schools and high schools. Using the internet and direct recruitment, many adolescents have become participants in actions both socially aggressive and criminal by groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Center for Consumer Freedom, 2008)
The National Gang Intelligence Center defines Juggalos as, “a loosely-organized hybrid gang, are rapidly expanding into many U.S. communities. Although recognized as a gang in only four states, many Juggalos subsets exhibit gang-like behavior and engage in criminal activity and violence. Law enforcement officials in at least 21 states have identified criminal Juggalo sub-sets.”
2. Where they Exist
They are located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
3. How They Recruit Members
Their philosophy and dress is derived from the Insane Clown Posse and Psychopathic records “Dark Carnival” from a set of 6 albums. Law enforcement professionals should be aware that this group routinely attracts members who come from difficult lives filled with trauma, parental neglect and, in many cases, serious mental disorders.
This combination makes them easily manipulated by their leadership of radical organizations such as the Juggalos who have for the past several decades used these groups as recruiting centers.
Dale Yeager of Seraph — a Department of Justice Criminal Behavior Analyst on the Juggalos — said, “As various extreme environmental, animal rights and anti-globalization groups become emboldened by increased funding from NGOs and leftist political action committees, the use of youth movements such as Juggalos for recruitment of members will increase.
”Just as the White Supremacy movement of the 1980’s found these movements ripe with emotionally troubled youth, the radical leftists groups are using them for the same purpose of filling their ranks with eager ‘solders for their causes.’ Soldiers who are willing to commit illegal and violent acts for a cause; even killing law enforcement officers.”
Does your Intel gathering include these groups? Do you have training for your team members to understand these groups? Are they active in your world?
(2014, May 30, 2014). (D. Yeager, Interviewer)
Center for Consumer Freedom. (2008, March 24). The Center for Consumer Freedom. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from Your Kids, PETA’s Pawns
National Gang Intelligence Center