In 2004, a group known as the National Youth Gang Survey (NYGS) estimated that there were 760,000 active gang members and an astounding 24,000 gangs in the United States! Over the past few years, Congress has gathered to present various proposals to stop gangs in specific areas and regulate what is happening to many unfortunate cities. However, the issue remains that many of the bills being released use overly broad and vague definitions that cover too much conduct and too many people. As you may find, the bill calls a “street gang” anything that varies from the Rotary Club to a business organization if any individual is found guilty of committing three total crimes. These crimes vary anywhere from a violent felony to fraud. Congress has found that it is especially hard to define gang crime.

California state statutes have a way of defining illegal gang activity. Criminal street gangs are referred to as members that engage or have engaged in criminal offenses in the last five years. If they are to commit a gang-related offense, they could experience a prison sentence of 10 years for their actions. There are also serious penalties to those who participate in the activities of a criminal street gang, wholly knowing that the members engage in offenses as well. They could also be convicted if they intend to promote or further the felony-related activities of the criminal street gang or increase their position in the gang on an illegal matter.

Problems Stirring in Los Angeles

In July 2015, many people in Los Angeles were looking for ways to bring peace to their neighborhood after a string of gang-related activities took place. These violent actions included many shootings and beatings that left 11 people wounded within a weekend’s time. Meanwhile, social media posts continued on from current gang members that the attacks would continue.

The truth is, many in Los Angeles have very well noted the fact that gang crimes have been increasing over the years. In some of the most violent neighborhoods known as the 77th Street Division, shootings rose to 20% compared with rates in 2014. So what measures were taken to assure that citizens would stay safe in these dire times of crime?

Los Angeles has decided on more aggressive enforcement. As officers have said, the last thing that enforcement wants to do is come into a town just to arrest more people. LAPD and the city responded to much of the gang activity by allocating more funding for gang intervention programs and sending more officers to scope out trouble spots. The problems starts when people are too afraid to leave their homes in fear that another incident will put them at risk of losing their lives (Mather).

What Can You Do?

Many people fail to educate themselves about how gangs operate and also fail to look for the signs of gang activity taking place. If it appears like suspicious activity may be taking place, it probably is. This is the best time to notify law enforcement. Making a call is vital for the success of early intervention and gang tracking. Many neighborhoods would be doing a good duty by becoming informed, cooperating with police when necessary, and becoming educated as well as educating the youth in the community to keep them away from gangs.