The Gang Unit
The Denver DA’s Gang Unit is dedicated to addressing crimes associated with gang activity and is devoted to aggressively prosecuting those crimes.
This unit prosecutes cases that involve gang-related crime such as gang membership or rivalry elements, cases in which the defendant, victim and/or witnesses are known gang members, especially those who are gang leaders, and cases in which the defendant has previously been prosecuted by the Gang Unit.
Gangs and gang activity have been an ongoing challenge in the metropolitan area for decades. It isn’t unique to Denver and it isn’t a sudden crisis. There is a perception that gang activity has suddenly grown more violent and widespread in the metro area, but that perception appears to be directly related to an increase in reporting by the media. The nature of gang activity has changed and evolved, grown more complex, and law enforcement has changed to address it.
The Denver DA’s Office has met the ongoing challenge of pursuing and prosecuting gang crime by effectively using every available resource to get violent criminals off the streets and to divert young first-time offenders from joining gangs. Severe budget cuts in 2002 and 2003 resulted in the elimination of the DA’s Gang Unit but it did not eliminate our efforts to combat gangs and gang activity as we continued to prosecute gang crime through our regular prosecution teams.
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey understands the value of a dedicated and specialized team to address gang activity and was able to restore a small DA Gang Unit with one Chief Deputy DA and two Deputy DAs in 2005. Efforts are still underway to restore the DA Gang Unit to be fully functional in a way that will allow prosecutors to be out in front of this issue, to vigorously prosecute violent gang activity and to prevent this type of activity and the impact it has on our quality of life.
We are partners with the Denver Police Department, Denver Mayor Hickenlooper and other law enforcements as we continue our work on a coordinated, comprehensive approach to this problem.