San Diego to target beach crime, gangs

June 15, 2006 No Comments

Angelica Martinez and Joe Hughes. The San Diego Union – Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: Jun 15, 2006. pg. B.2.C

City officials hope to safeguard parks and beaches during the summer months by strictly enforcing even misdemeanors and taking a tough stance against gang members.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Police Chief William Lansdowne and City Attorney Michael Aguirre said yesterday that they had:

* Assigned special police teams and traffic officers to keep the city’s park and beach areas orderly during the Fourth of July weekend.

* Created a commission focused on gang prevention and intervention.

* Obtained the city’s third court order curtailing the activities of members of a notorious street gang.

More than 1.5 million people are expected at city beaches and parks over the July holiday, which falls on a Tuesday this year and increases the event to a four-day affair.

Lansdowne said 300 to 400 officers — undercover and uniformed — would be deployed along the ocean and bays.

“Using lessons from the past, we have a comprehensive plan in place for managing the anticipated crowds and any increased gang activity,” Lansdowne told the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhood Services.

Traffic officers will be assigned to step up enforcement of drunken driving and speeding laws. And city rangers in Mission Bay Park will be on the lookout for illegal lodging, littering and illegal parking, and will report crimes to police.

On the water, a harbor unit will provide coverage on the bay and parklands around Mission Bay Park.

Lansdowne also said surveillance cameras will be installed at the beaches.

City officials said they are also trying to keep a lid on gang activity this summer.

Part of that effort is the creation of a commission on gang prevention and intervention that is expected to be in place by July 3. The commission is to have 17 members, including officials from city government, the police force and the county’s public health and social services agencies.

The commission is to make recommendations to the mayor and the City Council on gang prevention, intervention and suppression efforts by analyzing gang activity and looking for the best solutions for San Diego.

The commission will also try to find funding at the local, state and federal levels, and identify such inexpensive enforcement methods as truancy sweeps.

One method the city has used was securing injunctions against gangs, court orders that limit their movements, contacts and activities.

In a news conference yesterday with Sanders, Aguirre said his office had obtained a court order against members of the West Coast Crips, calling it an example of how the city can curtail gang activity.

The injunction — the third of its kind in San Diego — went into effect immediately. It bars the gang’s members from congregating in a large swath of the city, two contiguous areas covering the neighborhoods of Sherman Heights, Grant Hill, Logan Heights, Memorial, Mount Hope, Chollas View and Lincoln Park.

The western area is bordered by state Route 94 on the north, Interstate 5 on the west and south and state Route 15 on the east.

The eastern area also bordered by state Route 94 on the north, Imperial Avenue on the south, state Route 15 on the west and Euclid Avenue on the east.

Lansdowne said the court order helps prevent crime while hindering a gang’s recruitment efforts.

Beach Ordinance

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