Last night I had a nice chat with Sam, an old co-worker of mine from back when. Sam works in what most folks would consider a small town, but which is the biggest town in about 20 miles in any direction. As such, it's a hub, and as a hub on the interstate highway, it's a local Mecca of business. And dealing drugs, while not a legally-sanctioned business, is still a business. Sam reports that they're finding their local gang list is blossoming like flowers in spring.
"Local" is misleading-- the gangs are oriented toward California and Chicago. Some of the members really are from there. (I was not aware that Bakersfield, CA was a gang haven.) But they're showing up in Sam's neck o' the woods, and they're getting pretty bad. There have been some rather heavy drive-by's of houses. That crap doesn't fly much, in semi-rural Texas.
My good buddy LawDog, further up the (different) road, is similarly working in a hub town, with similar gang problems.
In the small town that I work for, we're too close to other much larger towns and cities-- the gangs aren't really a problem so much as the individual naughty folk.
Half a decade ago, when he got his third arrest in as many days for it, Sam had observed to me that "the whole world's on meth, now." We agreed that it wasn't the possession of methamphetimine that got us worked up-- it was the lifestyle that was repeatedly surrounding our meth users. (Theft, burglary, robbery, criminal mischief, fights, DWI...) He told me last night that in his current town, he's seeing a year's worth of our old city's bad guys in a shift.
I may ride out with ol' Sam one of these nights. No, I don't want to go work with his city, at all. But it might be enlightening to see how they do things there. Just to see.