Statistics show there are over 700,000 known gang members nationwide. Gangs are not only a problem in the bigger cities but they continue to make themselves known in smaller towns too.
August 17, 1996 is a day that many Bowling Green residents will never forget. On that day, members of a family were shot inside of their home.
Those found responsible, were members of a gang called the Asian Boyz Gang.
The incident left a couple dead and their daughter fighting for her life. It was the first time this type of gang related activity had hit the area.
Following this murder, law enforcements and other agencies cracked down on the problem.
"... Putting a lot of pressure on gangs and saying that they won't be tolerated in this community,” said City Commissioner Brian "Slim" Nash.
Nash is part of the Gangs Board of Bowling Green and Warren County that has been in existence since the 1996 murders.
He said over the years the gang problem in our area has decreased but it still is a problem.
"The reality is, gangs are flourishing the most in rural areas. They have decided to branch out of the larger metropolitan areas and they're going out into smaller communities like Bowling Green as a way to develop a new stronghold and a new community,” Nash said.
Nash said for the cities that sit on I-65, being an interstate town has allowed gangs to develop. That's because they use the main road to transport anything from guns to drugs.
Sometimes those involved in gangs even get sent to smaller towns by their family to start over.
What happens is they bring their lifestyle here.
"They re-create or attempt to re-create what they had in a larger metropolitan area,” Nash said.
"Some of the things they do in Bowling Green is petty theft. They fence an awful lot of stolen products. They're involved in the drug trade. Gangs communicate by spray painting areas by putting graffiti up,” Nash said.
All graffiti isn't gang related. Some is just tagging, or writing your name or drawing symbols.
Nash said we should still be paying attention to all graffiti.
"We need to be paying attention to it because it's their television news. It's their billboard. It's how they communicate with one another,” Nash said.
Nash mentioned it’s important to acknowledge that these gangs are here. It's one of the ways to help cut back on the problem.
"While we will still have some gang activity here, it will be less than we would have if we turned a blind eye to it,” Nash said.
Nash said every time graffiti is sprayed on something, it cost taxpayers money when it has to be cleaned up.
He recommends if you have a business that has been spray painted to immediately cover over it, otherwise graffiti will continue to be drawn on the property.
Coming up on Wednesday night in "Gang Related: Part Two," we'll take a closer look at who exactly is getting involved in these gangs and why it's so dangerous to imitate them.