Does California Have an Answer to Its Gang Violence Problem?
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Does California Have an Answer to Its Gang Violence Problem?

What we can try to do to stop gangs from criminal acts.

Because of the increase in gang-related crimes in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to slow down the rate that is occurring in the recent year. The Los Angeles gang-related crimes rose 14 per cent last year, and in the San Fernando Valley, this type of crime increased to 44 per cent. Lives have been taken unnecessarily, especially among the school age youths.

The governor's plan is to track down violent gang parolees the way it does sex offenders by monitoring them with ankle devices. He also wants to maintain a database that would record their activities.

At a press conference in Oakland, the governor stated that this type of crackdown will not just stop at city limits or in the county, this will be statewide. He was very forceful when he spoke. The governor wants to set aside $48 million in state and federal funds and grants.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a press conference at Griffith Park welcomed this plan, and wants more funding for gang-related crimes in Los Angeles. He said that he will work well with the governor. It was discussed that the real troublemakers are the gang leaders. The mayor also wants to use global positioning bracelets so that they can be easily tracked. It is not known yet how much of this plan will go into effect because it is necessary to get legislative approval. Lack of funds may cause this bill to not be passed.

There are some criticisms to this plan. Some Democratic lawmakers said the plan places too much emphasis on suppression rather than prevention. They feel that more time should be spent on a system that would prevent crimes such as setting up job training and social service programs.

Democrats also question the use of ankle bracelets. They wonder if this is the mot effective way to fight crime. Some democrats feel that the bracelet technology is untested and very expensive. Contrary to this thinking is that of San Bernardino department officials. They say that bracelets have helped police locate gang members at the scenes of several crimes, including a carjacking, drug trafficking and shots fired at police officers. The tracking device also helped police locate the suspect in the murder of a gang member who was wearing a bracelet by tracing where the victim had been before he was killed.

One senator, who is a Republican, suggested that he wants to target first-time gang offenders to prevent them from becoming hardened criminals.

There are obvious differences between the thinking of Democrats and Republicans on the subject of gang-related crimes. Now it is up to the legislature to decide.

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Comments (3)

Lack of funds is used too many times as a reason to not do something they should have already been doing. And I should thank you for the warning. Every time California gets tough on the gangs they move here and the gang activity increases dramatically. I remember about 20 years ago the LA police chief swept the gangs out with a get out of town by sundown attitude. That was a bad summer here for that problem as it seemed they all moved here.

Sam, I'm sorry to hear that the gangs have come out your way. I'm curious, where do you live? I think they should be rehabilitated by teaching them a trade or learn something that might be interesting for them---like a crafts,, soodwork, etc. I think that "No child left behind" is not a good program because not everyone is able to do algebra or the other requirements. College should not be pushed in the way they are doing it at the present. When I was in school, we had a choice of tsking academic courses or a trade. I feel ery strongly thst we should go back to that again.

I live in Denver, and every time CA gets tough they move here. I agree with the no child left behind, and I've never really understood its purpose. I have talked to middle school kids and they say in some ways they are threatened that if they don’t do well on the testing they will lose their prom or some new books or something like that. Everyone has a skill, interest or niche and I think schools need to focus on finding kids interest. I am a big believer in trade schools. Many kids can’t even think about affording a college and trade schools are a great place to go.