|For Immediate Release
November 17, 2006
Public Affairs Counsel
(714) 347-8408 Office
(714) 292-2718 Cell
VIOLENT ANAHEIM CRIMINAL STREET GANG MEMBERS SERVED WITH CIVIL INJUNCTION FOR TERRORIZING NEIGHBORHOODS AND PARK
SANTA ANA – A gang injunction was signed today by the Honorable Daniel Didier against 77 active members of a violent Anaheim criminal street gang to enjoin them from terrorizing citizens and being a public nuisance. This civil suit is the second to be filed in Orange County against a criminal street gang; the first was filed against a Santa Ana gang in July of 2006.
The injunction was a cooperative effort between the Anaheim City Attorney, Anaheim Police Department, Garden Grove Police Department, Orange County District Attorney, and Orange Police Department. The Department of Parole, Department of Probation, and Santa Ana Police Department also provided officers to serve the injunctions.
An injunction is a civil order that restricts or prohibits someone from participating in specific acts or activities that are not inherently criminal. The terms are designed to curb intimidating or harassing behavior. If a gang member violates the terms, he will be arrested and face misdemeanor prosecution for disobeying a court order or felony prosecution if the violation was for the benefit of the gang. The defendant will be placed on gang probation terms or be sent to state prison for up to three years.
The terms of the Anaheim gang injunction include a restriction that prohibits any association by the 77 named defendants with 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. The terms also maintain that there can be no intimidation, no drugs, no alcohol in public, no guns or dangerous weapons, no fighting, no trespassing, no blocking free passage, no graffiti or vandalism, no gang hand signs, no gang clothes, no burglary tools, no littering, and that the defendants must obey curfew and obey all laws.
The original injunction court documents named 91 defendants (90 individuals and the gang as a whole). Of those, 77 gang members and 25 parents of juveniles, as well as one additional member on behalf of the whole gang, were served with the injunction. The gang members that were served the injunction are known to be active participants in the Anaheim criminal street gang. Each individual’s affiliation with the gang has been documented by admitting their affiliation, associating with known gang members, dressing in the colors of the gang or having gang tattoos, possessing gang paraphernalia, or committing crimes for their gang.
The 1.63 square mile Safety Zone, primarily in Anaheim but crossing into Orange and Garden Grove, consists of the residential Wakefield/Leatrice neighborhood and a park called Ponderosa Park, which includes a community center that has meeting rooms, offices, and a playground for children.
Between January 2005 and April 2006, criminal activity within the Safety Zone resulted in the documentation of one murder, one attempted murder, one rape, 17 firearm violations, 25 assaults, six robberies, 12 stolen vehicles, seven narcotic related incidents, three trespasses, 40 graffiti crimes, 58 disturbing the peace incidents, three burglaries, 23 loitering calls, two witness intimidations, and eight shootings. Additional crimes in these categories occurred but were not documented because many citizens that live and work in this neighborhood are reluctant to cooperate with police because they fear retaliation from the gang.
Residents and business owners in the safety zone provided statements to the Anaheim Police Department with specific complaints about the gang activity in their neighborhood. The complaints included reports of gang members terrorizing residents by verbally and physically attacking them, businesses being vandalized, grocery carts being hurled into traffic to cause accidents, Ponderosa Park being overrun by drug dealers and users, and residents saying they are afraid to leave their homes at night as they are afraid of being physically injured by the gang. Residents have said the gang preys on Hispanics who don’t speak English because they are less likely to call the police.
“A dad who lives in the Safety Zone got cable and video games for his son because he’s afraid to play outside. When that little boy hears gun shots from his bedroom, his first reaction is to duck. No one should have to live with the fear that a bullet might come through the window or the wall at any moment,” said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “One resident was told by gang members that they decide who lives and who dies.”
“Some residents spend hours painting and repainting over graffiti, which is used by the gang as a method to intimidate residents and rival gangs,” said Rackauckas. “Some don’t dare paint over it, knowing that graffiti is often written as a threat to the police or residents that speak out against the gang.”
This graffiti is used by the gang to mark their territory, issue disrespect, acts as a warning, and advertise their most recent activities.
SANTA ANA INJUNCTION
Operation Safe Neighborhood, which enjoined a Santa Ana criminal street gang in July of 2006, has resulted in a 46% decrease in crime in the Safety Zone in the four months following the injunction compared to the four months leading up to it. Since the signing of the injunction, 12 gang members have been arrested in the Safety Zone for violating terms. Of those, ten are being prosecuted and two have received jail time.