THE Local Police force of Palma is cracking down on street gangs, and in recent months has been keeping an eye on more than 600 youths, mainly South American, who belong to gangs.
It is reported that 15 of them imitate the ñetas, formed in a Puerto Rico prison in 1979.
The police are keeping a watch on their activities and their meeting places which include Terreno and more recently the Borne.
This was revealed yesterday by police spokesman Juan Luis Sánchez, who said that they were not dangerous. Most of them have no police record, he said, but they generate a lot of rubbish and disturb neighbours, who systematically denounce their presence.
Social alarm has risen following two gang fights in Palma earlier this month which ended up with at least three people in hospital.
Sánchez said that since February, control of the gangs has been the responsibility of the new Preventive Action Group (GAP), whose priority was to draw up a census. This was completed within two months, with more than 600 individuals aged between 15 and 20 who regularly meet in squares and other places in groups of more than four.
The binge drinking sessions in places such as the Paseo Marítimo are not included in this surveilance, but are dealt with separately.
No organised urban gangs have been detected, although Sanchez admitted that there were about 15 individuals who imitated the Latin Kings and ñetas.
The chief meeting places include Son Oliva, Son Gotleu, La Soledad and Korea, as well as Gomila and more recently the Borne.