California has struggled with gang violence for a long time. The 18th St gang and 38th St gang, the Mexican Mafia, and several outlaw motorcycle gangs have all had a hand in making the streets of Southern California unsafe for years. One could say that when Americans across the nation think of gang violence, Los Angeles comes to mind.
Policing gang activity isn’t an easy task, there are thousands of individuals affiliated with gangs throughout the state. The matter of combating gang violence and going after suspects is greater complicated by the fact that a significant number of members are not citizens. The international criminal gang MS 13 originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s, mainly comprised of Central Americans.
In an attempt to keep track of people believed affiliated with gangs, the State of California employs the use of a database. However, as San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber pointed out, the state’s gang database is full of errors. Weber’s assertions were accurate, the California State Auditor found a preponderance of people in the database that didn’t belong, according to Voice of San Diego. The findings, naturally, led to reform in the way of Assembly Bill 90, which was approved by Governor Jerry Brown last month.
Purging the Gang Database
The audit of the database, known as CalGang, showed that 42 individuals were supposedly younger than one year of age at the time of entry. Of those individuals, 28 were entered for ‘admitting to being gang members,” the article reports. The auditors found many flaws, people remained in the database for longer than federal regulations permit. The audit showed that CalGang didn’t allow for public input or oversight.
“Probably people are pretty shocked about just how deep the problems are in the CalGang system in terms of lack of transparency, lack of consistency in terms of how the standards are used,” Weber said. “I was not shocked at all. If you don’t live in a community that has had concerns about this … I’ve heard these complaints for years. As most folks know, my own son was threatened to be put on the gang list, and he hadn’t done anything. I hear these things from parents on a regular basis. But I think some of my colleagues were shocked.”
A.B. 90 sets new standards and regulations for operating CalGang, which will include audits for accuracy and proper use, according to Electronic Frontier Foundation (the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world).
Southern California Criminal Attorney
If you were charged with a crime, you are in need of an experienced attorney. For more than three-decades Attorney Brower has successfully defended clients throughout the Southland, he can give you or a loved one the best chance at a favorable outcome. Please reach out for help.