That's the troubling news from state officials who say the gang problem is definitely getting worse, even in smaller towns.
Chattanooga is getting ready for an all-out effort to shut them down.
BOYD PATTERSON, COORDINATOR, GANG TASK FORCE "I think the real story is that in towns with 50-thousand population or less ..gang activity since 2005 has tripled."
That state report is putting every community, large or small, on alert.
The insidious and dangerous gangs may be right there where you live.
BOYD PATTERSON "Progress can be measured in the amount of people, and resources, and direction ..And political will to do something about this ..in that regard..Chattanooga is on the fast track."
The assessment phase of Patterson's initiative should be completed by August, at which time a community-wide effort, including schools, churches, police and youth leaders will launch.
The Rev. Ternae Jordan, of the Stop the Madness campaign, is anxious for that to happen.
REV. TERNAE JORDAN, STOP THE MADNESS "Its not a one community problem..if you don't stop or address the issues where they are..they're like cancer...they are going to spread."
One local organization called "Hope for the Inner city" is running full steam this summer.
The young people were out in force today, planting a garden to provide food for the Harriet Tubman community next fall.
How does it work?
VINCENT BOOZER, DIR. HOPE FOR THE INNER CITY "You can't have the "save the World" mentality. But if you teach one, maybe that one will go out and help 4 or 5 others, and those 4 or 5 others will go out and help 20 others."
Why does that work?
DENZEL MONFORD, HOPE FOR THE INNER CITY "I kind of want to ask them..why are you joining a gang? You can't get no money..it ain't helping you ...kind of make your family sad...destroying your family."
VINCENT BOOZER, DIR. "We want to prevent that...by empowering kids..economically and, because I think the gang problem is about money."
The young people who volunteer at Hope for the Inner City, receive a small paycheck at the end of the season.
Funding assistance comes from donors like the Benwood Foundation and the McClelland Foundation.