Gang Injunction Zone: Yay or Nay?

SFGate just put up a lengthy report on the pros and cons of the city’s gang injunction zone effort. In it, we hear from city officials as well as hardscrabble kids living hardscrabble lives:

“We can’t go back to our neighborhood where we grew up,” said DeLeon, who now lives in Oakland and has an older brother on the injunction list. “I can’t see my family and have a barbecue.”

Herrera and police gang officers see a different possible moral to DeLeon’s story. They believe the injunction may provide gang members with an antidote to peer pressure – an excuse to avoid people and situations that once brought trouble.


15 Responses to “Gang Injunction Zone: Yay or Nay?”

  1. brian says:

    “We can’t go back to our neighborhood where we grew up,” said DeLeon, who now lives in Oakland and has an older brother on the injunction list. “I can’t see my family and have a barbecue.”

    Yeah, sucks, doesn’t it? I’m sorry, not feeling the sympathy.

    The article didn’t really talk about how a gang member made it onto the list in the first place. Regardless, I think its a good idea.

  2. jimbeam says:

    The Constitutionality of this injunction is extremely suspect and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was overturned in court.

  3. Katie Ann says:

    Holy shit, has anyone read the article comments? Those people are jerks.

  4. zinzin says:

    my view, the injunction sort of works on the surface, and no where else.

    does it prevent bangers from hanging out? sure. but overall, it’s unconstitutional and is a typical non-solution: treat the symptoms, not the problem.

    just like moving bums from SOMA into the Mission and saying “we solved the homeless problem in SOMA”. pretty much bullshit.

    as you all know, i am 110% for the cops being allowed to put the smackdown on bad guys. these kids are thugs and they deserve what they get (which currently, is pretty much carte blanche to do whatever the fuck they want).

    but, i dont think the gang injunction in fact fosters that. my view, it’s the result of a city strangle-held by by “progressive” politics….doing anything it can, other than what it should: which is let the cops do their jobs.

    it’s easy to say “this is an indictment of people’s rights”…that it’s a racist, uneducated, shallow attempt to sove a problem much deeper in our community. and maybe it is.

    but when there’s a DA who won’t prosecute anyone,
    and the cops are ham-strung and unable to put criminals in jail,
    when the BoS is more occupied with where people can buy smokes (talk about civil rights) than they are with 8 murders in a 4 block radius in 2 months,
    when the real issue is one of socio-economics going back 50 years (remember…no one gives a fuck about the mission)…
    when there’s a problem this big…

    the city gotta do something. even something this lame and broadly ineffective.

    my view, what we REALLY need is better outreach & economic / asset development (to staunch the flow of youth into the life) AND better law enforcement work (to put the smackdown on the bad guys in a serious & public way).

    cleaning up 16th & Mission would be a good first step.

  5. brian says:

    How do you figure this is unconstitutional?

    Civil injunctions with adequate specificity are not unconstitutional. You could argue that this one is too vague, and I might be inclined to agree on principle, because of the excessive safety zone size, but on its face it not simply unconstitutional.

    The gang activity is defined as a public nuisance, hence the legality of the injunction. Fine line, I admit, but still. Considering the results so far in LA and the bay, I would be shocked if this were ever overturned.

    Kaite Ann: the sfgate comments were horrible … i really hope those people don’t live in the neighborhood

  6. zinzin says:

    ugh. the SFgate comments are ALWAYS unbelievable. these folks apparently don’t vote, however, looking at the “progressive” BoS. i guess we’ll see in a week or so…

    that said, yeah, you called it brian…. my rationale for calling “unconstitutional” (and agreeing with JimBeam, if you can fucking believe it) is the size of the zone, and the relatively vague / broad definitions that bind it. “public nuisance” is political bullshit. it’s an excuse for dealing with a problem half way. dealing crack is a felony. endangering minors is a felony. murder is homicide. THAT’S what’s happening. nothing in the mix is a “public nuisance”. tied by the “progressive” binds.

    truth is, i concur with the rationale of the injunction. SOMETHING needs doing. the shit is out of control. and i dont believe it will be overturned.

    but i also think the efficacy data are trumped up, and the long term solution is far far removed from the current form of the injunction.

    it’s kind of like Prop K. as written, it’s bunk. it will totally screw the Mission, the TL, etc. it’s complete “progressive” bullshit. but if it was written with actual thought….with regulation and real consideration…. perhaps a red light district, legitimization of the industry…then it seems plausible. even, a good thing. truly Progressive.

    but in SF…it’ll never happen.

    i just think the city

  7. andy says:

    i recently moved out of the mission because i felt like the violence was too “real” for me and have since been happy to see any effort on the part of the sfpd to reduce gang violence. in the last year that i lived on york at 24th, 3 people were shot on the corner and one person was shot ON MY FRONT STEPS. in the latter shooting gunfire was actually exchanged, meaning that the people who had been enjoying my front stoop were carrying concealed and loaded weapons. another time i awoke early in the morning (3am) to those very same dudes who were on my stoop (i know them by name) beating someone really intensely. i called the cops, the cops showed up five minutes later, nothing really came of it. gang violence is a serious problem in the mission and it effects everyone who lives there and degrades the entire community of residents.

    since i have moved out the amount of violent crime and straight up murders has increased. it sucks that people have restricted freedoms of movement and i think that its a terrible measure if its the only measure that is being taken. however, if the gang injunction zone is one in many steps that will help reduce violence and curb gang activity then im all for it. gang violence is a serious international crime that obviously needs a lot of government attention. but that government attention must be encouraged by community support. if the particulars of the injunction are in fact unconstitutional then we need to propose more sophisticated alternatives – its way too fucked up right now in the mission to just shut the injunctions down and not propose any alternatives.

  8. guero says:

    I say YAY. If it gets overturned, it gets overturned. It will take years and by that time, these “poor” gangbangers who can’t go to BBQs will hopefully have gotten arrested some place else. I think that law enforcement and the DA should use every tool at their disposal to interrupt gang operations. There should be no reason to let them feel comfortable here.

  9. Rocket Raccon says:

    I was born and raise in the Mission and let me tell you, this is a good idea. We have to send a message to gang that this shit isn’t fly anymore.

  10. zinzin says:

    i love seeing all the moderate-leaning voices here.

    interesting how so many folks feel this way – MANY people i talk to all the time, and myself as well – while the usual “progressive” self-serving politicos are consistently elected into office in SF.

    i guess we’ll see in a week or so….

  11. Neo Displacer says:

    yay, but it’s not enough more is needed. A coordinated intelligence effort to make cases against the 3 gangs is needed. I know its wishful thinking. The folks responsible, cops, bos, da, mayor, feds, don’t work together. The best I can hope for is that the problem reaches a crescendo and tipping point where enough is enough. In the mean time, if you live in the center of it as I do, keep your head down and shoot back.

  12. mcas says:

    So, surprise– I actually basically agree with zinzin… (gasp!)

    The law is going through the higher courts now and will more than likely be struck down as unconstitutional.

    As for the comments like Guero’s imply that these kids were initially arrested on legitimate charges based on fair enforcement.

    That in and of itself is highly unlikely.

    I’ll speak only for myself here– I grew up White, Middle-Class Suburbs. When kids I knew got caught with under a few grams of pot or a fist fight, they were told ‘boys will be boys’ and nothing was on record.

    Now, when you are talking about a 15 year old Honduran kid in the Mission, they are targeted by cops because they look like other kids who sell drugs. When they get caught, they don’t get the leniency I (or you, Mr. Mission Blog Reader, probably) got/would have gotten.

    Therefore, we’ve suspected them based on race/class until they get caught, then we criminalize their existence in their own community… that seems pretty f*cked up, no?

    And before you reply with ‘there sure are some bad ones in the group’… yeah- probably. Can’t there be a better way than banning someone from the block they grew up on, prohibiting them from visiting family and friends from childhood and adolescence?

  13. zinzin says:

    there IS a better way…better outreach and better police work, together, in symbiosis.

    by “better” i mean more of it, and better managed, and in the case of the police….with the latitude to actually get bad guys put in jail.

    btw, the cops job is to put the smackdown on bad guys – NOT to give latitude. there’s no room for latitude in the mission.

    thing about your example mcas (i grew up the same way more or less), when cops found us with a few grams or whatever, we weren’t also likely to be carrying a loaded handgun, or part of a large organized crime syndicate (which is what the 3 gangs are, even though they have children as soldiers), or actively dealing hard drugs (not weed).

    we got leniency because of the milieu, not because of the color of our skin. kids in the hood DONT get leniency because of the milieu, same reason. also, these kids flash gang signs AT THE COPS, they wear colors, flash tattoos AT THE COPS, and they carry guns.

    you’re gonna do that…doesnt mattter whether it’s a gram or a pound…you need to get locked up.

    when i was a 22 year old down & out punk rock heroin addict in NYC in the 80s, i kind of WAS a target of the cops based upon the gentrification of the east village at that time. and there were a lot of us who were armed & organized. and a lot of us DID live to antagonize the cops. because our hood was changing and we were being forced out (of squats, granted).

    and a lot of us WEREN’T part of the unruly mob. but you know what we did? we kept our fucking noses clean, and we kept our fucking heads down.

    break the law…face the consequences. (and in my opinion….if the legality of your immigration status is questionable, and you break the law…well, that the consequences might entail deportation is not unreasonable.)

    the injunction is in place because – on some level – it works from a limited perspective. it DOES tamp down crime by limiting the travels of certain individuals. and while i am personally 100% in favor of that result…even for me the method seems draconian. and totally not scalable. and i dont give a flying fuck about the day-to-day quality of life of these fucking thugs. not one bit. i’d rather see them in lockdown….

    i just think it’s an easy way out…and it smacks of “well, this is the best i can do….cause i can’t do the real thing given the political / economic / quality of resources situation i’m in”

    and the alternative is really hard, granted….we’d need to fund outreach and enable the cops to really do their jobs (which in SF is pretty much impossible under the “progressive” regime).

    it’s not an easy one, by any means.

    but i didnt want to give the impression that i support any sort of “leniency” for law-breaking idiots who get arrested. just common sense in solutions.

  14. zinzin says:

    does this mean i no longer agree with jimbeam and (holy shit!) mcas??

    i think we do agree on some points, and i think that’s great.