Wednesday morning, a
downtown Los Angeles court will be holding a preliminary hearing for the Glendale Boulevard
Corridor Gang Injunction Project.
The injunction creates a safe zone that covers approximately 3.8 miles and includes Echo Park, Elysian Valley and parts of Silver Lake. It covers six gangs and precludes them from congregating or otherwise associating in public areas.
Monday night, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council held a public safety forum that brought together individuals both in favor of and against the injunction.
LAPD officer Greg McManus said crime in Los Angeles is down but that gang crime is disproportionately large.
“Of the members of the six gangs, we’re looking at approximately 320 folks and of those folks, they commit in many of those districts over 1/3 of the total crime,” McManus said. “We have about 320 gang members out of about 60,000 residents committing approximately 30 percent or more of the overall crime.”
Ana Muniz Ph.D., who has partnered with the Youth Justice Coalition, said from her research, gang injunctions don’t reduce crime over long-term.
“(There is the) spill over effect,” Muniz said. “The crime goes to the neighborhood next to it or a city over.”
A big concern for opponents of the gang injunction and for Silver Lake residents is what happens to people who need to get off of the gang injunction.
Assistant City Attorney Anne Tremblay said there are non-judicial ways for people named in the injunction to get themselves off of it. There is a petition for removal process available on the City Attorney’s website.
Not everyone agrees there is a gang problem in the Echo Park area. Youth educator and organizer Rio Contreras M.A. Ed., who has worked keeping youth safe for 15 years, said she doesn’t believe gangs are currently an issue.
“Back in the 1990’s, I grew up (in Echo Park) and it might have been a bigger issue then but it’s not an issue now,” she said. “People walk around at night. No way people are going to be comfortable if there were gang issues.”
At a Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council meeting last month, City Attorney Mike Feuer came out in support of the injunction as one tool in the fight against gang crimes in Los Angeles.
The hearing for the preliminary Echo Park gang injunction will be held on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Hill St. (111 Hill St. in downtown Los Angeles).