Reno Police say they've seen a tremendous decrease in violent crime from a group of kids they classified as a gang, a few months ago. They're mostly white, upper-class teens who claim the "straight edge" lifestyle, but in some cases, apparently take it to the extreme.
Many of these kids pledge no drugs, no smoking, no alcohol and no sex. But police say there's a small group of these kids that push their beliefs on others, and that's when things get violent.
Back in May, the Regional Gang Unit classified this group as "gang" because of fights that were breaking out all over the Reno area. Police have said they use weapons like bats, brass knuckles, knives, pepper spray and mace. They also said these kids can mobilize and meet up for a fight faster than a traditional street gang, because of their access to technology like cell phones and computers.
But now police are saying that ever since they came out with the "gang classification" and started making more arrests, violence from this group has gone down.
Back when we first did the story, we heard from Straight Edgers who said the gang classification was unfair. We talked with one today here in Reno - who wants to remain anonymous - and he tried to explain why this violence goes on. He says one of the straight edge core beliefs is to stand up for yourself:
"When we get picked on, we do something about it. And that problem leads to another problem and sometimes that comes to violence. It's self defense. You can't talk your way out of things like that. That's backing down, if I do that, I just let someone walk all over me…what if more people start pushing me around?"
Other Straight Edge teens who contacted us say they don't support violence at all, under any circumstances.