• Gilbert was ranked the 6th best place to raise a family in the U.S.

The city of Gilbert, Arizona, has been ranked among the top ten places in the U.S. to raise children.

The small town, essentially a wealthy suburb of Phoenix, is home to 290,000 residents where almost one third of the population are under the age of 18.

A survey by Wallethub ranked Gilbert as the 6th best place in the country to raise a family in 2024.

The site looked at more than 180 cities across the nation using 45 key metrics deemed important for raising a family including housing costs, healthcare, the quality of its schools and recreational activities.

But the city holds a dark secret, with a young gang running rampant in the area. 

Once billed as the country's second-safest city, Gilbert has been in national news for all the wrong reasons with teen delinquents who have been terrorizing the community since 2022. 

The Gilbert Goons are known for recording blitz-style attacks in parks, parking garages, outside fast-food restaurants and at house parties.

After carrying out the attacks on unsuspecting people, they then post the videos on social media.

Victims and residents in the area have described the group as mostly white, upper-middle-class teenagers from multiple East Valley high schools.

Their assaults appeared unmotivated and were often recorded and shared by the attackers themselves.

Several lawsuits have been filed claiming that law enforcement and school officials allowed the Goons to continue unleashing their violence since as least 2022.

Last month, the group of young men who have been terrorizing Phoenix suburbs, were finally been designated as a criminal street gang.

The teens' reign of violence, which allegedly included armed robberies and dozens of assaults at parties and in parking lots - several with brass knuckles - culminated with the fatal beating of  16-year-old Preston Lord at a Halloween party last year. 

Following a months-long investigation into the gang, embattled Gilbert police chief Michael Soelberg confirmed that the group functions as an organized criminal entity.

The city's police chief explained the Goons were classified as a 'hybrid gang,' because of their reliance on social media, its members are not of the same race and it has a 'lax or absent' code of conduct.

According to police, the Goons lack aspects of a traditional gang, including defined leadership and rules, specific use of symbols and colors, and lifelong commitments.

The Goons have been involved in at least 95 assaults in 18 attacks, most in Gilbert, as reported by the Arizona Republic. 

Police Chief Michael Soelberg previously told his department has made 29 arrests in connection to attacks. 

Despite national news about teen violence in Gilbert, in May Chief Soelberg denied teen violence was particularly bad in the area. 

He said:  'Overall, Gilbert is a safe community, but we're not immune to the problems that we've seen throughout the country, so we're no different than anybody else. 

'We're a large community with nearly 300,000 people, and within our community we have 80,000 teenagers and younger. And so when you have that many kids, you're bound to have some conflict amongst teens and that's what we see nationwide.'

But more videos of teen attacks and claims made by alleged victims about the Goons reign of terror were shared with police following the fatal beating of Lord, at a Halloween party in October in nearby Queen Creek.

Seven teens and young men, including several Goons suspects, have been charged with his murder, sparking accusations from some in the community who believe the alleged killers should have been removed from the streets long ago.

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2024-06-12T04:08:01Z dg43tfdfdgfd