Citing the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy before Christmas, the Orange County, Ca., District Attorney's office is seeking an emergency court ruling to enforce a gang injunction against ten people who are fighting their inclusion in the action targeting the Townsend Street gang, reports the Voice of OC. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas says the injunction was in response to “decades of violent crimes committed by this gang and numerous residents pleading with law enforcement to eliminate the gang presence so that they no longer have to live in fear.” Attorneys for those contesting the injunction say the DA’s office is exploiting the boy’s death to win its case and that prosecutors have no direct evidence that the incident was gang related.
The injunction restricts the otherwise legal activities of gang members in a .39-square-mile area dubbed a “safety zone.” Those enjoined are prohibited, for example, from associating with gang members in public spaces in the safety zone, with the exception of spaces such as schools or churches. Rackauckas says “gang injunctions work to reduce crime,” noting that violent crime in county injunction zones “fell by up to 65 percent after the injunctions were put in place.” University of California Berkeley criminologist Barry Krisberg said research has found gang injunctions have no impact on violent crime. Only a few studies found an impact on property crimes such as car thefts or burglaries, he said. “Generally speaking they have very limited and almost no real impact on a crime problem,” said Krisberg.