Does Waukesha have a problem 
with gangs?
Recent incidents show rise in severity of gang activity

By BRIAN HUBER - GM Today Staff 

December 1, 2008

Jacob Trampe of Graffiti Effacers is seen covering graffiti in the Heyer Tunnel recently. The Adaptive Community Approach Program reports a rise in graffiti in recent years, but property owners are taking the initiative to clean it up quickly.

* Feb. 25: Two men were stabbed outside the Taco Bell on Sunset Drive, and the victims are reluctant to tell police who their attackers were or to even make complaints. After weeks of investigation, one of the victims said there had been tension between the 38th Street Gang and La Raza, of which he was a member, that included vandalism to a car and an apartment building before the incident, and a prior run-in with the suspects, Rueben Ramos and Nicholas Aguilar, the previous fall. Both suspects were prosecuted in the case.




* July 21: Waukesha police were sent to a Wauwatosa hospital, where an 18-year-old man was taken after he was stabbed at least three times, although no evidence of such was found at the reported crime scene in the 1900 block of Madera Drive. The victim wouldn’t give the names of the people involved, was "fairly vague" about details in the case, and said he was a former member of the 38th Street Gang and is no longer active.

* Sept. 1: A man speaking very little English goes to Waukesha Memorial Hospital to report he’d been beaten near a friend’s house at Grand Avenue and Dodie Drive, by a group of people wearing green bandanas and carrying baseball bats. The man’s friend was a suspected member of the 38th Street Gang, but the man said he was here visiting family from Puerto Rico. He decided it wouldn’t be worthwhile to file a complaint, leaving police to wonder if the man was a victim of a crime or just had been involved in a "beat-in" gang initiation.

The above incidents, described in police reports, illustrate the type of activity recently seen in Waukesha. Although street gangs are nothing new in Waukesha, as Police Capt. Mark Stigler said they’ve been around since the early 1990s, the crimes they are involved in seem to be escalating in severity, from misdemeanor offenses to felonies.

For full story, go to the electronic version of The Freeman. Click here to access the electronic version. 

Brian Huber can be reached at

This story appeared in The Freeman on December 1, 2008.