Gang membership among illegals, specifically those between the ages of ten and thirty, has soared. The gangs themselves are not of the local yokel variety with which police have had experience; they are well funded, well organized, and well connected to national and international crime syndicates. A single member might carry the firepower of a SWAT officer, with the determination to match.
The language barrier is present, as always, but especially damaging now because informants require translators. Even when a translator is present, dialect differences and the inescapable possibility of one misunderstanding another are pushed to the forefront. No matter how hard they try, and they do try, the police never fail to be two steps behind gang members at every corner. The situation is growing increasingly hopeless daily.
The gangs themselves have turned their attention to eliminating nearby factions of organized crime, placing the city's longtime thugocracy under incessant assault. The latter's respective crews are used to the old model of business; with each gang knowing its territory and sticking to it. The illegals' brand of gruelingly brazen urban warfare, which cares not a whit about sneakers hanging from power lines, has left the old guard throughly blindsided.
As all of this is happening, the lion's share of the city's productive classes are leaving for good. Some members in moderately safe neighborhoods have their homes on the market, while others closer to the battle zone simply pack their belongings and go. The watch groups are, for the most part, things of the past; what good can a middle aged male carrying a flashlight do against a young street urchin packing a MAC-10? A disturbibg number of harshly depressed blue collar citizens, many of whom are the very folks laid off from the factories, are forced to stay in the midst of the mayhem.