Dominican Immigrants and Crime

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Crime Patterns are hugely influenced by the existence of gang activity. Many gangs are formed—ethnic gangs in particular. Some Dominicans have also partaken in gang activity, particularly in Washington Heights, where they exist in large numbers. Some of the activity includes, in general, a spread of drug use, and an increase in drug use.

Dominican Don't Play (DDP)

According to Gloria Alvarez, a film major at The City College of New York, Dominicans Don’t Play is among the largest crime contributors in the city. This group first originated in the 1980’s in Washington Heights. Although many facts of the group still remain largely obscure, here is what we do know about the group.

Dominicans Don’t Play is a group which promotes a sense of togetherness in the Dominican community. Therefore, it makes sense that its group identifies itself with the colors in the Domincan flag—red, blue, and white. In recent years, it has also used colors of flags of other Hispanic nations. While they are able to foster a sense of unity, through their hang outs at recreational centers, clubs, among other places, which is a positive force, unfortunately, some of the methods they employ are criminal in areas like Washington Heights, as well as sections in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Illegal Drug Use

Mrs. Alvarez says that drugs are a common part of Dominicans Don’t Play’s notorious habits. Due to their association with Colombia’s drug cartel system, many drugs are being trafficked to places, which surprisingly, the police are able to find rather quickly. As a result, many Dominicans in this gang are easily caught by the police. Some are even deported by federal officials for their acts.


While illegal drug use remains in effect today, it is committing murders that are more rampant. Many use the machete, a killing knife for their murders, which seems to be a common signal of their group. The gang has stabbed many innocent members at high schools; however, there is one incident which took place in Union Square in 2006. This actually occurred when girlfriends from Washington Irving High School, asked their men to avenge their insults. In order to do so, the members of the DDP, along with other unidentified gentlemen attacked others from the nearby Science High school. In the end, there were two people injured, and one teenager dead.


Similar gangs exist, although most of them attempt to avoid publicity. Certain smaller ones exist in Dominican neighborhoods like Washington Heights, Chelsea, Elmhurst and more.