Photo stories: Small Towns, Big Gangs
The small towns in the Salinas Valley are known for their fertile fields, fresh produce and big gangs. Warring Northern and Southern California gangs penetrate the culture of these communities, recruiting the youth as their soldiers. According to the FBI's National Gang Threat Assessment, Monterey County saw a 105 percent increase in gang members between 2009 and 2010. While police and city officials have mounted an all-out drive to thwart the gang problem, Monterey County's youth murder rate is the highest in California.