A growing number of municipalities are seeking restraining orders that seek to bar gang members from talking to one another or standing together on public property, Bruce Riordan of Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo’s office tells USA Today. More than a dozen gang injunctions have been filed in California cities since March. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill in June that allows for civil injunctions against any of the state’s estimated 1,500 gangs. Between 2002 and 2007, complaints about gangs increased 26 percent and gang arrests increased 18 percent, said FBI spokeswoman Denise Ballew.
“Injunctions (provide) the power to keep gangs from gathering and holding meetings,” Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said. Los Angeles started using gang injunctions in the 1980s to suppress gang violence. The city now has nearly 40 injunctions in place covering about 60 gangs. Cities in Texas, Illinois, and Minnesota have gang injunction laws in place. The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said the injunctions place prohibitions on lawful activity, including the right to gather publicly and be out past a certain time of night. Riordan said that when used with increased enforcement and prevention, injunctions can decrease crime up to 33 percent.