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Are Gang Injunctions Effective in North County?

Audio

Aired 10/18/10

Oceanside is now tied with Escondido in having the most gang injunctions in San Diego County. Gang injunctions ban gang members from congregating in certain areas of a neighborhood.

Oceanside is now tied with Escondido in having the most gang injunctions in San DiegoCounty. Gang injunctions ban gang members from congregating in certain areas of a neighborhood.

There are 19 gang injunctions in San Diego County. Six of them target gangs in Escondido. Another six target gangs in Oceanside.

Oceanside’s Varrio Posole gang was hit with the latest injunction last Friday. Police say the gang has been committing more assaults, street robberies and drug dealing in Oceanside's Eastside neighborhood.

Maria Russell lives near a park where the gang members are known to hang out.

“Some kids look the part. Others are [known gang members]. It's obvious. It frightens residents and they don't got to the park,” Russell says.

Oceanside police hope the injunction will help the community overcome that fear. They say the city’s five other injunctions have helped to significantly decrease the amount of gang activity in the city. But the ACLU argues the injunctions don't solve the problem. The ACLU says they only push the problem to other neighborhoods or cities.

Some North County gang specialists say gang activity is fanning out around the region.

They’re also coming across hybrid gangs. That’s when displaced gang members form new cliques and commit crimes in areas that are not under police scrutiny.

But San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Shawnalyse Ochoa says the largest and most active gangs stay put.

“They know whose territory they're in because these individuals go out and claim it,” Ochoa says. “This idea that we're just moving [gangs] is academic. In theory, yes, but these are individuals who are entrenched. They've laid down roots.”

Police say the injunctions are just another tool to use in their fight against gangs.

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