South Valley Gang Injunction

May 5, 2008 9:14:14 PM PDT
A second gang injunction in the South Valley was made permanent Monday. Visalia Police officers say the injunction is a great way of fighting gang violence but are having a hard time getting a hold of the gang members.The injunction means gang members can't hang out with each other in public within a specific safety zone. But people who live in these neighborhoods have mixed feelings about whether the injunction is stopping the violence.

Streets in North Visalia have seen their share of gang activity. On Monday morning a judge ordered that a section of North Visalia be deemed a safety zone where gang members can't gather together in public. Some people who live here say, since the injunction was put into place, they haven't noticed a difference.

North Visalia resident Daniel Wiley says, "No, there's no less violence because for people to come to their senses is to be loving with their heart."

Other neighbors disagree, saying it takes for the injunction to work. Community member Josh Huerta says, "It's been quieter but it's day by day. Things happen day by day."

South Valley gang officers went door to door, serving suspected gang members with information about the injunction in March. Visalia Police say the new safety zone has helped in reducing violence.

In January, there were 72 gang-related arrests. In March, that number dropped to 41. Gang officers say the biggest problem they've had with the injunction so far is actually making sure gang members know about it.

Visalia Police officer, Allyn Wightman, says, "They pretty much are hiding from us which is a good thing because if they're not out doing crimes, we're not going to be able to catch them and serve them."

Gang officers say they're going to be out on the streets trying to get a hold of more than 500 gang members in North Visalia. So far, they haven't had to arrest anyone for violating the safety zone rules.


Load Comments