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Viewpoint: Are gang injunctions worth the cost?

Prosecutors use public nuisance actions to stop gang-related activities

Recently, Oakland, Calif., joined the increasing number of public agencies making use of gang injunctions when its City Attorney’s Office announced that it would seek a gang injunction limiting street gang activity within a 100-block radius in North Oakland. Gang injunctions are public nuisance actions that aim to prevent and suppress gang activity, such as restricting people from wearing gang colors, associating with gang members and gathering in areas with high gang activity.

Not surprisingly, the media attention surrounding Oakland’s announcement shows that the strategy is still controversial. The most common criticisms are that gang injunctions: fail to address the root problems of gang activity; take valuable resources away from programs that would address those problems; give the police too much discretion to harass young men of color — even if they are not gang members; impose permanent probation-like restrictions on individuals who have never been tried for a crime; create an increase in “cohesion” among gang members; and cause a “spill-over” of gang-related crime into adjoining neighborhoods.

Read the full article here.

Posted here by permission of American City and County