PESTAÑA street gangs Violence 1 The Halloween party was the perfect setting. At night and hidden behind the disguise of a mask or a balaclava that did not attract attention among the groups that were drinking in the street. Many of those who went out to celebrate on November 1 were also dressed up. In Los Remedios, about thirty kids went hunting. His victims were kids who had also gone out partying and who were beaten to steal their cell phones and sow a general sense of fear in the streets. A few weeks ago, a very similar group was arrested after having perpetrated assaults for several days in Porvenir, another of the neighborhoods designated as a “posh” environment. The question is, therefore, obligatory: Who are these gang members? The National Police arrested 18 minors between the ages of 14 and 16 on Halloween night. They are all Spanish, although several come from Dominican and Honduran families. They live in neighborhoods hit by marginality such as Esquina del Gato (San Juan de Aznalfarache) and Polígono Norte. The Police was already investigating in advance of these events the possible link of at least eight of them with Latino gangs. A phenomenon that is not established here as it is in Madrid, where they have been fighting these criminal organizations for decades. Although Seville and its metropolitan area are not officially the territory of groups such as the Latin Kings or the Dominican Don’t Play (DDP), a 216 report from the Ministry of the Interior indicated this capital and Malaga as the base of two subgroups of the Latin Kings. At that time, the Police and the Civil Guard had identified and monitored 427 violent youth gangs that were spread throughout the Spanish geography. Sources consulted suggest that these gangs that operate in Seville are trying to copy some codes of more organized gangs, such as the use of the same clothes, as a uniform, or the use of very specific white weapons such as machetes. Many of those involved also have the same haircut – shaved at the neck and bleached to white blond at the crown of the head. An aesthetic almost identical to the one worn by the five young people arrested in October and who performed preferably in the Future and in the vicinity of the Aquarium. The pattern is the same: young people looking for other kids from neighborhoods labeled as “posh” on whom they unleash enormous violence. They take away their cell phones and wallets, but robbery is not the objective of their actions or, at least, it is not the only one. They enjoy hitting and causing terror in the streets because they consider their victims as rivals due to their social status. The testimonies The testimonies of the victims help make up the x-ray of these gang members. One of the young people who was able to escape the attacks of Los Remedios managed to avoid those involved by posing as one of them at a specific time. He was wearing a black sweatshirt and covered his head with a hood like the rest. When running through one of the streets with others involved, one of them confused him and showed him what he was hiding among his clothes: “Look what I have for the posh ones” and showed him a machete. These violent groups copy gang codes known as the use of machetes What happened on Halloween has revived the idea of ’hunting the posh’. A name currently coined but that defines something that has been happening with more or less intensity, for decades in Seville. It was the family of a young man, who received a beating in the San Bernardo neighborhood in May 221, who sounded the alert that a kind of viral game was being spread on social networks that consists of beating a young man – defined by the aggressors like posh – to later spread it. The parents of the victim, who began a collection of signatures to demand more security in the streets, provided as evidence the testimony of one of the witnesses to the attack. This young man heard one of the aggressors as he said before beating the victim: “Today I feel like hunting a posh”. At that moment the National Police came out to deny that such a game existed and circumscribed what happened to the misdeeds of a classic gang. However, since May 221, similar attacks have continued to take place. Also in Los Remedios, but in the area closest to the Blas Infante metro station, a gang was at the end of 221 attacking young people who were drinking bottles there. Sources consulted indicate that these groups in principle have no relation to each other, except that they follow the same pattern in their attacks and that they use social networks to communicate. New definition of gangs The State Security Corps and Forces are monitoring the networks where these young people expose themselves. This tool is one of the characteristics of the current youth gangs, redefined this year by the Ministry of the Interior through a police instruction known in May. In general, violent youth groups are defined as those made up of minors, or minors and young people between 14 and 3 years of age, as reference ages; that can present structures of cohesion and internal discipline and whose actions sometimes lead to violent behavior that generates concern and social alarm. The youth gangs detected are classified based on criteria of ideology (extreme right or left groups) or motivation (racism). In the case of these gangs, they would fall within the groups that are considered cases of eventual, sporadic or spontaneous concertation of young people to exercise physical, mental or sexual violence or cause damage to collective property. Although this identification as a more or less organized group has to be demonstrated, and as legal sources admit, it is not easy. The young people arrested for the aggression of the minor of San Bernardo were sentenced for crimes of violent robbery and injuries. The aggravating circumstance of belonging to an organization was not applied to them.
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