The city got a second gang injunction against the Southside Chiques gang in October of A gang injunction declares them a public nuisance and can address the problem before it reaches a felony level. The revised ordinance provides the framework for gang membership and determines the process, and the city will have a hearing officer for graffiti and miscellaneous issues. The hearing officer may look at the evidence against a gang member, including gang tattoos and if someone witnessed them making gang hand signs.
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Apr 4, Imported 0. Several Ventura County communities long known for their pristine beaches and family festivals have, in the past decade, taken on a darker image: gang territory.
But law enforcement and prosecutors from Ventura to Oxnard, along with authorities in inland communities such as Simi Valley, have made concerted efforts to turn things around. If you ask residents, particularly those who recently moved to Ventura County from nearby gang-infested sections of Los Angeles County, those efforts appear to be working. Documented Oxnard gang member William Glass was arrested in July on felony charges of a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of a controlled substance, and street gang terrorism.
Prosecutors on gang cases can appreciate that. Lally, an assistant United States attorney in the Violent and Organized Crime Section, who has prosecuted numerous high-profile gang cases.
There are an estimated 1, gangs operating throughout Ventura, L. California law defines a gang as any ongoing organization, association or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more of the enumerated criminal acts, having a common name or common identifying sign or symbol, and whose members individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity.
Active gang members often sell narcotics, commit crimes and generally create an atmosphere of intimidation while representing their gang. Particularly hard-hit has been Oxnard, which became recognized as having the most active gang members throughout Ventura County. The Colonia Chiques emerged as the most active street gang in Oxnard, followed by their main rival, the Southside Chiques. That year, gun use became widespread, and the murder rate spiked to 15 per year from a decade-long average of 2.
For the next 15 years, the annual homicide rate averaged Most gangs sprang up in geographic areas where their founding members lived. Colonia the section of Oxnard from which the Colonia Chiques drew its name was a low-income neighborhood, and its residents viewed areas outside Colonia as more affluent. One spring day in , members of a gang known as the Eastside Classics initiated a melee with Scalon. During the fight, an Eastside Classics member killed someone who belonged to Scalon.
About two weeks later, a member of the Eastside Classics was in turn killed, fueling the gang war. As time went on, most of the founders and original members of the Eastside Classics were incarcerated, and the core group developed a schism that led to its dissolution.
The Loma Flats gang, as it was to become known, formed in A group of students at Haydock Elementary School banded together in search of protection from the Colonia Chiques and Paula Street gangs. The schoolboys began to engage in increasingly violent acts, achieving notoriety when one of its members accidentally shot a child.
Lemonwood Chiques started in Public housing assistance had moved Colonia families to a small eastern community now known as Lemonwood. Meanwhile, the Colonia Chiques were rapidly growing in numbers and accumulating power. Paula Street disbanded in , which was reportedly a deliberate decision among its members. In , Southside Chiques started to use Oakland Raiders clothing to represent the gang. More officers were assigned to patrol neighborhoods saturated with gang activity. But only so much could be accomplished through law enforcement and the criminal courts.
A large part of the solution lay in a creative move. While continuing to criminally prosecute gang members, authorities decided to cross boundaries into the civil court system to curb gang violence before it could happen. Injunctions were first issued in Oxnard in to target street crime by two local gangs — the Colonia Chiques which has 1, or more members and the Southside Chiques Collectively, the two groups had reportedly been involved in more than 3, local crimes, ranging from disturbing the peace to murder.
The civil approach appears to have had an impact, with a 10 percent decrease in crime since Ventura County started filing injunctions.
After the first action was filed against the Colonia Chiques, no gang violence was reported in Oxnard for two months. At the six-month mark, gang criminal activity was still down by 85 percent. Being named in a gang injunction, however, is not always a permanent black mark. That left approximately gang members in the Colonia injunction and 66 in the Southside injunction. While it is extremely difficult and dangerous to leave a gang or even attempt to separate oneself from the organization, some manage to do so.
Many others, however, find themselves pulled back into the fold at one level or another. In January, the Los Angeles legal community was stunned when federal criminal defense attorney Isaac Guillen was convicted of racketeering and money laundering offenses committed on behalf of the Mexican Mafia and the 18th Street gang — powerful organizations with strong ties to street gangs in Ventura County.
Guillen was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Guillen, who had been a member of a street gang as a teenager, left that life and graduated from the UCLA School of Law, eventually becoming a highly regarded, successful criminal defense attorney. The biggest problem prosecutors face in gang prosecutions is obtaining witnesses cooperation, both in the community and within the gang. Lally recently tried a case in which there were witnesses to two separate murders.
While prosecutors were able to find a few people who would testify about the events surrounding one murder, he said, no one would come forward about the other one because they still lived in the neighborhood and feared for their safety. And of course, gang members or associates, even if no longer involved with the gang, do not talk about gang activities — ever — to anyone outside the organization.
Power in numbers helps. Recent large-scale gang takedowns have resulted from widespread joint efforts among local, state and federal authorities. The case emanated from an undercover operation in Camarillo in which authorities linked two Moorpark shootings to a drug distribution and firearms trafficking network run by Colonia Chiques. The seven- month operation began in April, when investigators linked two Moorpark shootings to a drug seizure involving local gang members.
Gang members and their families have been moving from urban areas to neighboring communities and counties, bringing gang culture and activities in tow. So when a particular clique grows weak, rivals or new cliques emerge to fill the power vacuum. Today, Oxnard has more than a dozen Latino gangs with more than 2, documented members. That is often a function of their answering to the same Mexican Mafia a powerful prison gang member or building a mutual trust in prison that continues when they are released, according to Holland and other gang experts.
Lally, however, noted that the government has developed sophisticated prosecution models that have been employed with great success, particularly in the past several years. Subscribe to get VC Reporter Digital Edition, emails and newsletters delivered weekly in your email inbox. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here. View All Events. Justice for Oxnard Apr 4, Imported 0. Previous Free Will Astrology. Next Journalism — for better or for worse — is here to stay. Related Posts.
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Sentence Is the First on Gang Injunction
The cases outside the area involve due-process violations for those served with the court orders. MORE: L. In essence, it means Oxnard police are starting over. The civil restraining order was first filed against members of the Colonia Chiques, the bigger of the two gangs, and became permanent in June The injunction against the Southside Chiques went into effect in October
Justice for Oxnard
Within the specified 6. Furthermore, one of the more controversial restrictions—later changed because of its unconstitutionality—was the curfew of 10 pm until sunrise People ex rel. Totten v. Colonia Chiques, Cal. Oxnard Police Department. A case that helped the plaintiffs of People v Colonia Chiques clarify the criteria for public nuisance and unincorporated associations was People v. In that case, the court argued that the parties gang members could be enjoined as an association and if the association harm the public health of society then they could be considered as violating public nuisance statues, Civ.
New version of Oxnard gang injunctions moves to secure individual due process rights
Apr 4, Imported 0. Several Ventura County communities long known for their pristine beaches and family festivals have, in the past decade, taken on a darker image: gang territory. But law enforcement and prosecutors from Ventura to Oxnard, along with authorities in inland communities such as Simi Valley, have made concerted efforts to turn things around. If you ask residents, particularly those who recently moved to Ventura County from nearby gang-infested sections of Los Angeles County, those efforts appear to be working.
Colonia Chiques Gang Injunction
The gang injunctions are civil court orders that restrict on what those named under the order can wear and do and the people they can hang out with. The rulings and what happened next in Oxnard added another layer of tension over an already-controversial topic. Critics say gang injunctions unfairly target minorities, foster a confrontational relationship with law enforcement and create obstacles to rehabilitation. The injunctions were amended after dozens of Ventura court hearings. Courts: Judge denies Ventura sexually violent predator unsupervised release in county. Together, they hashed out the wording of the proposed amended injunction with Ventura County prosecutors.