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The relationship between gang activity and oil production

According to the FBI, gang activity in Midland and Odessa fluctuates based on how well the oil industry is faring.

MIDLAND, Texas — In the Permian Basin, one thing stands out above most everything else. Oil production has a direct impact on so much in this area. 

This even includes gang activity.

According to the FBI, if you want to know how much gang activity there is in Midland and Odessa, take a look at the price of oil to get an estimate.

"They very much rise and fall with the production of oil, and right now there’s kind of a small downturn in the oil production there, but they still do have gang activity present," Paul Davis, an FBI agent who previously was the gang supervisor at the El Paso branch said.

A lot of this activity has to do with people coming from all over to work in the oil fields. This creates more opportunity for gangs to recruit and sell and buy drugs.

"I would say yes," Davis said. "You know when the oil field is hopping and hiring a lot of persons, the increase in population and persons coming to take those jobs does have a symbiotic relationship."

Although Midland and Odessa haven't seen much gang and gun violence recently, there is a history of it here and the concern remains real.

"Midland-Odessa, they have had a lot of violence in those cities," Davis said. "I won’t say super recently but they have had previously, a lot of gun violence there where we did stand up in effort with DEA and ATF."

When it comes to fighting gang activity, Davis said that all levels of law enforcement need to work together.

"Again we are vigilant," Davis said. "We're vigilant with all our federal, state and local partners, and you know we’re always concerned. We’re always working. Also, we have liaisons with FBI and DEA and the United States Marshals," Davis said.