Deputies see increase in Orange County gang activity

Gang activity may be more common than expected


ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County sheriff's deputies are asking citizens to be aware of new gang activity in Central Florida.

 Orange County Sheriff's deputies hosted a news conference on Wednesday where they spoke of the more than 70 documented gangs in Central Florida, with nearly 1,700 members. Many of the gangs are present on the county's east side neighborhoods, and across Orange County.

"Where there's gang members there will be violence and that's our goal to prevent that," said Sgt. David Spall said.

Deputies said gang graffiti could mean gang members are operating in a particular area. They offered tips to separate gang graffiti from tag art. Deputies said gang graffiti is often done quickly, has less color and more symbols. Tag art is often more colorful with bubble letters and more artistic, deputies said. Tag art is often the work of a street artist and isn't gang related.

"It could just be a tag a kid doing criminal mischief, or it could be a gang, a serious gang and we want to obviously know where they're operating at," said Spall.

The increase in gang activity has some residents worried and willing to help out reporting the members.

"Living in East Orlando you kind of felt like you were filtered from that," said resident Debby Staab. "The more that we're reporting things then they're not going to come here because they know they might get caught."

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