Gang members are flooding small West Tennessee towns on the weekends, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. TBI director Mark Gwyn says he’s “deeply concerned’ about gangsters taking over.
It’s a trend that the TBI has spotted over the last year, and Gwyn says the rural gang problem seems to be getting worse in places like Ripley and Bolivar, just outside Jackson.
“You go to your smaller towns, they don’t have the luxury of having gang task forces that can probably provide the security needed, so they can go there and operate with a little more anonymity and a little easier.”
Gwyn says they’re sometimes showing up by the thousands, bringing guns and drugs along with them. The TBI says rural gang activity is partly to blame for Tennessee’s worse-than-expected rankings in violent crime.
In response, the TBI is now organizing urban-style gang task forces in parts of West Tennessee.