How the takedown of Memphis gang leaders could increase crime

A federal indictment against the leadership of the Gangster Disciples should send a message to gangs across the city, and the impact on crime in the city should be obvious.

"They are going underground. You got the GD's yesterday. The Vice Lords and the FAM Mob are wondering am I next," retired Shelby County deputy Bennie Cobb told FOX13.

>> PHOTOS: Alleged Gangster Disciples from West Tennessee indicted by Feds

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It might not be that easy, though.

Some in law enforcement told FOX13 it will help to reduce the number of shootings and murders. Others fear the void in gang leadership could lead to even more violence.

As for Cobb, he believes the action taken by federal law enforcement could bring calm in gang-related shooting and killings. That is something the Strickland Administration has wanted since it took office in January.

"I really believe with the law enforcement man power that was put into this investigation, it is going to a sustained effort,” Cobb said.

Vacuums in leadership can also lead to violence as rival gangs flex their muscle.

FOX13 reported earlier this year about the murder of a gang leader that resulted in multiple gang-related shootings and murders in Frasyer.

“People assume that because you take away some high-level gang members crime will immediately go down, but it could have the opposite effect,” Pastor DeAndre Brown of Lifeline to Success told FOX13.

Brown said the public needs understand gangs thrive on greed, power, money and territory.

"There could be someone who was hoping that someone was taken away, and now they are attempting to assume the power," Brown said.

Cobb told FOX13 law enforcement knows it must continue to apply pressure on the gangs and not ease up.

"The law enforcement, I am sure (and) I assure you, have a plan and it is a sustained plan," Cobb said.