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Most of us have heard of big city gangs like the Crips, the Bloods, and the Latin Kings.
Years ago, Lexington Police told us gangs didn't exist here in the Bluegrass, but that's no longer the case.
Right now, police say about a dozen gangs involved in criminal activity operate in Lexington.
Police have even formed a special unit to deal with them.
27 NEWSFIRST investigates gangs on our streets.
Gang graffiti is one of the most visible signs they're here, and it's not just one gang. Every color represents a different gang. Every number and symbol have meaning.
Chief Anthany Beatty says when Lexington Police began seeing gang graffiti, they didn't waste any time. Police wanted to head off the violence gangs are causing in cities not far from Lexington.
Chief Beatty says gangs have not taken over Lexington, but he says gangs are here. In addition to car break-ins, assaults, robberies, and vandalism, there has been at least one gang shooting. A fifteen- year old Lexington boy was shot on the street this summer.
Police believe it was a "get even deal" by a rival gang, but they can't prove it because the victim and eyewitnesses won't talk. The boy survived a gunshot wound to the chest.
Then last week, police arrested a Lexington high school student for shooting from a car at a group of people. No one was hit. The police report says the 18-year old is a self-proclaimed Latin King gang member who was shooting at a rival gang.
In the end, police say gang crime affects every person in the city.