The California Department of Justice tracks gang members and gang activities throughout the state, and individuals will be entered into this statewide database if they meet two or more of the following criteria: they are an admitted gang member, they are named by a reliable informant, they display gang signs or tattoos, have frequent gang arrests, wear gang attire or are arrested with gang members. If no crimes are committed in five years, the potential gang member's information will be removed from the database.
A study of Orange County gang activity back in 1995 showed that there were 21,514 gang members throughout the area. The same survey was conducted in 2005, and it was found that the number of gang members in Orange County had dropped to 13,259, nearly a third less than in the previous decade. This decline in gang activity was attributed to more aggressive law enforcement and prosecution, as well as the higher cost of living in Orange County as compared to other places. In fact, statistics show that gang members from Orange County frequently move to Riverside County, San Joaquin Valley, the Inland Valley, or even out of state to find cheaper housing.
Orange County is reported to have somewhere around 338 gangs, which is far less than the 1,100 gangs in Los Angeles County. Some of the most popular crimes committed by the gangs in Orange County include robbery, assault, vandalism, and many others. Other common crimes committed by gang members include having possession of tobacco, dangerous weapons, marijuana, or another controlled substance. Even fighting in a public place can be cause for arrest, and a majority of gang crimes are committed by males. In recent years, gang members have extended their reach to smarter forms of crime, especially identity theft. In an attempt to cut down on the number of gang-related crimes, police departments throughout the county and especially in Anaheim have increased the size of their gang-enforcement squads. Anaheim has hired four more officers in addition to their seven full-time gang investigators, and they use a mix of enforcement and intelligence-gathering to bring in suspects.
Those who are arrested for gang crimes, whether it be vandalism, probation violation, robbery, assault, or vehicle theft, must be aware of the enhanced penalties that they may face if they are convicted. Here at The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman, we have seen too many innocent defenders be accused and convicted of gang-related crimes over the years.
Our Orange County criminal defense lawyers have the skills, resources and legal knowledge to help you fight criminal charges and avoid a serious conviction, so call today and schedule your free case evaluation!