Date: November 16, 2015
JUDGE ENJOINS TWO ORANGE COUNTY VIOLENT STREET GANGS FROM TERRORIZING NEIGHBORHOODS IN PLACENTIA
*These are the 14th and 15th gang injunctions in Orange County
SANTA ANA, Calif. – Two violent criminal street gangs in the City of Placentia have been preliminarily enjoined from terrorizing the community and acting as a public nuisance, marking the 14th and 15th injunctions to be brought against Orange County gangs. There were 51 participants served between Sept. 30, 2015, and Oct. 7, 2015, in English and Spanish with a notice of how to be heard in court before being enjoined, the participants’ rights, and how to remove themselves from the injunction. These injunctions are in response to decades of violent crime by these gangs and numerous residents pleading with law enforcement to eliminate the gang presence so that they no longer have to live in fear.
Deputy District Attorney Lisa Grossman and Sayge Castillo of the GRIP/Gang Injunctions Unit prepared the injunction on behalf of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
“The residents in these neighborhoods that consist of families, children, and the elderly have been in the crossfire of these rival gangs for too long. They have been living in fear, unable to walk the neighborhood streets without worrying whether they will be victimized,” said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “Injunctions are tools that we will keep using to make communities safe from criminal street gang activity.”
“Through our law enforcement partnership, we are able to seek safety for the Placentia community,” said Placentia Police Department Chief Ward Smith. “Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we are making neighborhoods safe again where residents can come together without worrying for their safety and well-being.”
WHAT IS AN INJUNCTION?
A gang injunction is a civil order that restricts or prohibits documented enjoined gang members from participating in specific acts or activities that may not be inherently criminal within a designated area, or “Safety Zone.” The terms are designed to curb intimidating or harassing behavior. If an enjoined gang member violates the terms, he or she will be arrested and face prosecution. The case may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor for disobeying a court order and the defendant will be placed on gang probation terms or be sent to jail for up to six months.
This injunction names the gang as the defendant. The gang injunction subjects all enjoined active, documented members to prohibitive terms including a restriction that prohibits any association between members of the gang. Association includes standing, sitting, walking, driving, bicycling, gathering, or appearing anywhere in public or public view with any known member of the gang (except while at school or in church). The terms also maintain that there can be no intimidation, use or sale of drugs, consuming alcohol in public, guns or dangerous weapons, fighting, trespassing, blocking free passage, gang hand signs, gang clothes, burglary tools, or acting as a lookout. In addition, the enjoined gang members must obey curfew and all laws. Graffiti and vandalism are also prohibited as graffiti is often used by the gangs in the Safety Zones as a method to intimidate rival gangs, mark their territory, advertise their most recent activities, dissuade residents from going to the police, and denounce police.
Gang members who are enjoined and subject to the terms of the injunction include the most active gang members who are well-documented through personal admission and/or affiliation, association with known gang members, dressing in the style of the gang or having gang tattoos, possessing gang paraphernalia, and/or committing crimes for the benefit of the gang.
PLACENTIA GANG INJUNCTIONS
The 14th and 15th injunctions in Orange County were brought against two rival, violent, traditional turf-oriented criminal street gangs simultaneously. These criminal street gangs are the two of the oldest gangs in Orange County and began in the early 1900s, when Hispanic students were segregated. Both gangs were initially baseball teams in the early 1930s and 1940s and became rivals in the late 1950s. Both gangs formed into criminal street gangs and have been active since the early 1960s.
A 0.70-square mile area makes up the one of the Safety Zones, which is located approximately south of Madison Avenue, west of Kraemer Boulevard, north of Crowther Avenue, and east of Placentia Avenue. The Safety Zone is comprised of mainly single-family and apartment homes and two large community parks.
A 0.49-square mile area makes up the other Safety Zone, which is located approximately south of Crowther Avenue, west of Melrose/Blue Gum Street, north of Miraloma Avenue, and east of Placentia Avenue. The Safety Zone is comprised of mainly single-family and apartment homes and includes and one large community park.
Between January 2010 and July 2015, criminal activity in the Safety Zones resulted in the documentation and/or arrest of gang members for crimes including: four murders, 44 incidents of gun or dangerous weapon possession, 22 assaults, nine robberies, 10 burglaries or burglary tools, 345 incidents of graffiti or vandalism tools, 85 drug or paraphernalia violations, 205 incidents of associating with other members of the same criminal street gang, eight incidents of intimidation, 65 incidents of alcoholic beverages in public, 38 incidents of wearing gang clothing, 43 curfew violations, four vehicle thefts/carjacking, and 13 incidents of trespassing.
Additional crimes were committed in the Safety Zones but not documented because many people that live and work in the neighborhoods are reluctant to cooperate with police for fear of retaliation from the gang.