Thank you for coming.
Operation Safe Neighborhood began last November when the Santa Ana City Attorney Joseph Fletcher, Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters, Garden Grove Police Chief Joe Polisar, other Orange County law enforcement and I decided it was time to make Orange County even more inhospitable to gangs. We began looking into getting injunctions on street gang members to prevent them from building their criminal networks.
Please help me welcome Mr. Fletcher, Chief Walters and Garden Grove Police Deputy Chief Kevin Raney.
Also here are Santa Ana City Council members Claudia Alvarez, Carlos Bustamante and Jose Solorio. They represent the people in this zone. They should be recognized for their leadership and strong stance against gang crimes. They have joined us to employ this crime fighting technique to ensure Santa Ana continues to be a safe city.
This was a coordinated effort among four agencies. I would also like to recognize Assistant City Attorney Paula Coleman, Santa Ana Gang Detective Jeff Launi, Deputy District Attorney Tracy Rinauro, and District Attorney Investigator Tim Day who deserve much of the credit for their stellar work on this gang injunction.
I am standing here with representatives of some of the best law enforcement agencies in the country. On June 14th, these 15 agencies helped serve 134 of the 154 named defendants with the gang injunction. We had the help of 225 officers from Anaheim, Cal State Fullerton, Costa Mesa, Parole, Probation, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Irvine, Newport Beach, Orange, OCDA Bureau of Investigation, Orange County Sheriff, Santa Ana, Tustin, and Westminster. Let’s give them warm and sincere thanks for their participation in Operation Safe Neighborhood.
Today, Judge Didier signed the first civil injunction in Orange County’s history enjoining gang members from associating with each other and terrorizing the neighborhood. We consider this a foreclosure notice to these street thugs. We are putting them out of business.
Here are the terms these defendants must obey: (see PowerPoint presentation)
An injunction is a civil court order that restricts or prohibits someone from acts or activities. The reason these terms are important is because the specific act may not be criminal, but they are intimidating and harassing. If a gang member violates these terms, he will be arrested and prosecuted.
This injunction is a nuisance abatement action. It attempts to eliminate the annoyance and aggravation caused by the gang. The gang members will be renotified of this injunction which was signed by the judge today. Once they are served, they can choose to obey the court order.
If they do not, they will be prosecuted for misdemeanor disobeying of the court order or a felony if they are violating the court order for the benefit of the gang. They will be placed on gang probation terms or be sent to state prison for up to three years.
When I became Orange County District Attorney, I believed and still believe a high priority in public safety is to go after gang crimes and gang members. There is a direct correlation between gang activity and our quality of life. When gang activity goes up, our quality of life goes down. When gang activity goes down, our quality of life goes up. With the united effort of these law enforcement officers and their agencies, Orange County has 6,000 fewer gang members and 62 fewer gangs since 1999.
In Orange County, we don’t accept the notion that we are condemned to always having gangs in our midst. These numbers will not remain static. They will either get better, or get worse. We are committed to making them better. This injunction is the newest weapon our community has to battle them.
This is the first gang we selected to enjoin. We are actively looking at other gangs in the County. This violent, turf oriented gang has been active as a street gang in Santa Ana for more than 40 years. They expect young recruits to prove themselves by committing violent crimes and it is difficult to leave.
These gang members terrorize and intimidate the community by gathering in groups, flaunting their gang tattoos, brandishing their name as a sword to strike fear in the hearts of the people who only want peace.
The gang members listed in the injunction were methodically selected to represent the most active participants. They were identified through their own admission, association, dress, possession of gang indicia, and joint commission of crimes. You have heard the phrase `Walk like a duck, quack like a duck.’ Well these ducks have been quaking too long, too loud. We are done with them.
Take a good look at them. Their monikers don’t belong to dwarves. They are meant to intimidate anyone hearing their name. They tend to get them based on their personalities. Their activity has been increasing in frequency and their numbers have been growing for the last several months.
This is the map of the affected area where the citizens will be protected.
It is only a ¾ square mile area. There are five schools, two parks and a public golf course. The symbols dotting this small area represent crimes committed there.
You walked through what the residents in this zone see every day. You will walk out after this press conference. They have to live there.
Just imagine how intimidating it would be to live there. The gang members mark their territory with graffiti. Graffiti is put up to create fear. Businesses in this area struggle because their customers are harassed, they get their property vandalized and stolen and they have to paint constantly over the graffiti.
Graffiti bolsters the gangsters’ notoriety and tends to dissuade residents from calling the police. It helps them flex their muscle, mark their neighborhood, claim their turf like dogs urinating on a territory. The graffiti issues warnings and threats, advertises their most recent crime spree, and intimidates and issues disrespect for their rivals.
Their combined rap sheet looks like the `Twelve Days of Christmas.’ By severely hampering their ability to encourage each other and act in concert to commit crimes, we are turning on the `no vacancy’ sign. No vacancies for gang members.
Here is a security video of a rival gang shooting. It goes quickly. You will see the car lights, hear shots fired and then see gang members scurrying around picking up the shell casings.
There were about 30 shots fired in a residential area between two rival gangs. The most shocking thing about this video is not that there are gunshots in front of someone’s house. The most shocking is that no one called the police after the gunshots rang through this neighborhood. Here it is again
It is like Bizarro World where everything is backwards. The good people have to sleep in backrooms away from the street so they don’t get hit by stray bullets. The good people have to install and live behind locked security bars as virtual prisoners in their own homes.
It’s not right.
The good people are afraid to go out at n