A few years ago, Santa Barbara imposed a gang injunction, which is a restraining
order against a group of individuals. Injunctions request the court to
rule a gang’s public behavior a nuisance and ask for special rules
directed toward its activity. They supposedly help address neighborhood
gang problems before the members can commit felony crimes, but people
questioned its motive and efficacy.
In 2014, Judge Colleen Sterne ruled against the necessity of a gang injunction,
which the police department had been pursuing for 3 years. In the 32-page
opinion she released afterward, she found the arguments for gang injunctions
to be unpersuasive. Likewise, while Santa Barbara continued to have rival
gang issues, their behavior didn’t constitute a genuine problem.
The law requires their conduct to be a substantial and unreasonable nuisance
before an injunction can be issued.
The judge has particularly good instincts. Juvenile gang crime has been
dropping in Santa Barbara since 2007. Since that year, juvenile referrals
to the county’s Probation Department have been decreasing in all
areas of Santa Barbara County.
As of late 2015, the number of reported gang incidents in Santa Barbara
has dropped 5-fold in the previous 5 years. Likewise, the incidences of
tagging have plunged. People credit the number of programs in place to
assist and occupy teens and young children. The city council of Santa
Barbara approved spending $67,000 to help fund the South Coast Task Force
on Youth Gangs for another year, which allows juveniles serving probation
to attend classes and acquire job skills.
In 2010, there were 737 juveniles with gang terms and conditions, and in
2014, those numbers went down to 313. If efforts are continually focused
on improving the lives of youth in Santa Barbara and helping those convicted
of crimes seek job skills to help them avoid criminal activities in the
future, the numbers are likely to continue falling, even without the assistance
of the gang injunction sought by the Santa Barbara Police Department.
If you’re facing a criminal charge, don’t hesitate to talk
to one of our skilled
Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys. Let us help defend your rights and freedom.
at (805) 467-6060 or fill out our online form today to schedule your free