Thursday, January 15, 2009
The city of Los Angeles, plagued by 23,000 violent gang crimes since 2004, including 784 murders and 12,000 felony assaults, announced Tuesday that it had won its first civil judgment, for $5 million, against a criminal gang that had dominated the heroin trade downtown for decades.
The verdict could bode well for another first-of-its-kind lawsuit the city filed last month that goes after all assets of gang leaders, not just those associated with their criminal activity. Both suits seek to plow the money back into improving the neighborhoods affected by the gangs through a fund.
"By giving prosecutors more tools to fight gang activity at the local level, we are protecting our communities at the same time [that] we're able to strengthen our statewide anti-gang efforts," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a statement released with the announcement of the $5 million verdict against the 5th and Hill gang in L.A.
Monday, November 10, 2008
San Francisco's 98 homicides last year, the highest number in 12 years, were anything but random. According to a new study, the violence was concentrated - routinely involving the same gangs and featuring suspects and victims with long rap sheets.
Nearly three-fourths of the 38 suspects arrested so far in the killings had criminal records, according to the study by the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice, a research and policy group at the UC Berkeley School of Law. The average suspect had 12 previous arrests.
Homicide victims typically had even longer records, the study found. More than three-fourths had been booked for a felony or misdemeanor at some point, and victims who had records averaged 13 arrests.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
In the wake of those tragedies, the city's elected officials began work on a tax measure that would raise $30 million for anti-gang initiatives, including after-school programs and city-run recreation activities.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday credited a new summertime anti-gang program, which included special community events and extended nighttime hours at eight city parks, with a measurable drop in crime in some of the city's most violent neighborhoods.
Between the Fourth of July and Labor Day, the Summer Night Lights program offered special movie nights and other youth- and family-oriented events until midnight four nights a week, during peak time for gang activity and other juvenile-related crime.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
"I stabbed about three people," he says, his angular face betraying no particular emotion. He mentions it offhandedly, like a kid trying to be modest about something in which he takes great pride.
Now 18, Danger, has been a dedicated gang member for the past five years. It was his homies, his brothers in arms, who bestowed the street name.
"I been in it forever," said the narrow-eyed young man, fresh from a six-month stint at the juvenile lockup Maple Lane, where he served time for robbery and assault. "Grew up with it from like when I was a baby."
Friday, August 8, 2008
The streets of Sacramento are claiming fewer young people.
In what authorities say may be a fragile sign of progress, fewer Sacramento County teenagers have been slain in 2008 than in any year going back at least a decade.
And the promising signs do not end there. According to Sacramento police and the county Sheriff's Department, the number of teenage shooting victims is down by about one-third over last year.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Federal law enforcement authorities have coupled multi-agency task forces with strategies that once focused on Mafia-era crime syndicates to target national and international gangs, many of which have brought warfare to the nation's cities.
With a propensity for indiscriminate violence, intimidation and coercion, some of the gangs are considered security threats. One of the largest is Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, with an FBI estimate of 10,000 members in 42 states, including Maryland and Virginia, as well as the District.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
A report on gangs in Seattle bolsters what some in law enforcement and community groups already were saying -- gang violence is up, and more prevention programs are needed."It validated what I'd been hearing and experiencing the last few months," said Terry Hayes, a supervisor with the city's Human Services Department who works with youth programs.The 87-page report, completed in four weeks, cost $15,000. Work on it began Feb. 1, less than a month after two young Seattle men were slain in what were believed to have been gang-related shootings. Allen Joplin, 17, was shot dead Jan. 3 and, in a separate shooting, De'Che Morrison, 14, was killed Jan. 11. Neither case has been solved.