Civil gang injunctions

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In the recent past, cities have agreed to the idea that the issue of gang violence has gone to new heights and depths across countries; in both rural and urban areas as gangs seek general dominance and territorial control (Ana, 2014). As a matter of fact, organized gangs are responsible to over 10% of crimes committed in particular cities (King, 2017). The situation on the ground has necessitated the creation of civil gang injunctions. To start with, civil gang injunctions refers to procedure where some gang members are restricted such that they cannot engage in some activities in the society such as riding bicycles, loitering among others, otherwise they may face arrest. Civil gang injunctions have be applauded as being innovative and effective ways to handle gang activities in the society as well as weaken the stronghold that such gangs could be having in the cities. Despite the expansion and endearing nature of the CGIs, the strategy can only be looked at from two sides: the positive impacts of the strategy and the problems that can be caused by the strategy.

Problems identified with CGIs

One of the problems associated with CGIs is the cost.  CGIs entails increased levels of policing, which means that more resources are diverted from important community projects such as funding schools and youth programs. It is unfortunate that is certain cities such as Oakland, the cost of gang injunctions to date has been estimated to be well over $1, 000,000, and this happen as schools continue to be shut down due to underfunding (King, 2017).

The second major problem associated with civil gang injunctions is racial profiling (Ana, 2014). Some people observe that most gang injunctions are vague and lack proper ways of identifying gang members an aspect that gives room to a police system that encourages racial profiling in the bid to classify criminals. Racial profiling seeks to criminate civilians even in cases where they are innocent.  Police officers often borrow stereotypes that are traded by the media to target individuals as potential members of gangs. To this end, youths of colors, especially Latinos and African Americans become prime targets of civil gangs injunctions.

The last problem relates to incarceration of youths. When CGIs are used, youths tend to be the greatest losers. Youths filed for suspension of being gang members usually have even simple charges intensified from infractions to misdemeanors and even to felonies (Ana, 2014). In real sense youth incarceration has not been found to increase public safety, rather, it tends to harm it the more; it leads to increased recidivisms and criminality in juveniles. Notably, counseling is a better option to civil gang injunctions.

Benefits of CGIs

Research has shown that well-crafted civil gang injunctions can lead to a reduction in the number of gang related activities. Civil injunctions, therefore, may lead to a reduction in gang visibility as well as community fear of confrontations and intimidation that can be mated by gang members. Secondly, civil injunctions help communities feel that they have a sense of control of their security and livelihood as well as offer an opportunity to members of a gang to exit the gangs (Muñiz, 2015). In other words, CGIs are critical in improving cities safety and neighborhood relations. Notably though, civil injunctions may not exclusively prove adequate to curb gangs in cities, they can be used to curb gangs proliferation and enhance safety.

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  1. Ana, M. (2014). Maintaining Racial Boundaries: Criminalization, Neighborhood Context, and the Origins of Gang Injunctions. Social Problems, 61(2), 216-236.
  2. King, M. (2017). When Riot Cops Are Not Enough: The Policing and Repression of Occupy Oakland. New Brunswick, Camden, Newark, New Jersey; London: Rutgers University Press. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1m3214s
  3. Muñiz, A. (2015). Police, Power, and the Production of Racial Boundaries. Rutgers University Press. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt15sk98s
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