Lawmakers Emphasize Winning the War on Street Gangs.
Republican lawmakers have unveiled a comprehensive legislative package focused on winning the war on street gangs. Gang violence has infiltrated into urban, suburban and rural neighborhoods and lawmakers stressed that gangs must be a priority of the State Legislature this year.
Over a dozen measures will focus on prevention and intervention to end the cycle of gang recruitment, suppression and intervention of gang activity, and enhance penalties to provide justice for victims.
“We must give more tools and resources to law enforcement, prosecutors and communities so they can take back their neighborhoods and stop the infiltration of gangs into their neighborhoods,” said Senator George Runner (R-Antelope Valley).
Senator Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) said, “In Orange County alone, there are 314 gangs, and law enforcement officials say gang activity is on the rise. Gang activity is nothing short of domestic terrorism, and we must do everything we can to eradicate it completely. The well-being of our neighborhoods, the safety of our parks and the protection of our children are at risk.”
Assemblywoman Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) said, “My number one priority is to protect the safety of all Californians and this bill package will go a long way in breaking the endless cycle of violence perpetuated by gang activity that holds communities hostage. We must address this situation from every angle and I believe the legislation I am introducing will give law enforcement the tools they need to enforce our laws and gain control of the gang problem in California.”
Assemblymember Van Tran (R-Costa Mesa) said, “When law-abiding citizens find out about all of the gang activity that goes on in prisons they are outraged. Assembly Bill 676 will help end gang activity in prisons by increasing the penalties for felonies committed while incarcerated. More importantly, strict penalties will be applied for any accessory who helps in such an offense.”
Assemblymember Martin Garrick (R-San Diego) said, “Gangs and the violence they spread through our communities has got to stop. I am proud to be working with my colleagues towards a solution to this terrible problem.”
Assemblymember Alan Nakinishi (R-Lodi) “Gangs are ravaging our cities, and corrupting our youth at an epidemic rate. We've got to crack down on this rampant form of organized crime. Gangs have infested our neighborhoods and schools. The gangs take turf domination seriously, it's time for the legislature to give law enforcement the tools it needs to take back turf.”
Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) said, “All across the state people are taking steps to take back their neighborhoods from gangs and the crimes they commit. It only makes sense for the legislature to step up and give police and prosecutors the tools they need to fight back. California already has penalty enhancements for gang crimes at schools and my bill will give prosecutors the ability to extend those penalties to gang crimes in parks.”
Assemblymember Shirley Horton (R-Chula Vista) said, "With an estimated 8,000 gang members in San Diego County, it is imperative that we keep the pressure on this continuing challenge. Through preventative efforts such as intervention and education we can work together as a community to reduce gang violence. Keeping our children safe from these influences is a top priority as I take the legislative steps necessary to help rectify this problem."