New program targets gang activity

August 16, 2010 3:43:52 PM PDT
Houston city officials are considering a new plan to help put a stop to gang violence in some of the roughest areas of the city. The plan would point out specific hot spots for gang activity, then set rules for anyone identified as a gang member. A similar program is already in place in Fort Worth, Bryan and San Antonio. Los Angeles has it too. And in a couple of months, Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos plans to roll out her version of it as well.

It's a different tactic in fighting gang-related crime in neighborhoods that have seen a lot of it. It would define designated areas -- perhaps one or two square miles -- as a gang-free zone. It would bar those with gang-related criminal backgrounds from being there. It's called an injunction, just like one a judge would order in a court case.

"You measure the number of arrests and criminal activity and so forth, identify the people who are involved, and then you seek an injunction," Lykos explained. "They have curfews, if you will, to prevent them from associating with one another and to prevent them from destroying neighborhoods."

In other cities those who violate the injunction are charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Lykos won't detail the penalties related to her gang injunction for now, but she says enforcement will involve a cross section of jurisdictions from local to state to federal.


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