Lawyer up, all you Bloods and Crips on the northwest side.
Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos will announce tomorrow the county's first civil injunction filed against a gang, targeting "members of the Blood and Crips gangs who have continually preyed upon the 2,400 residents of the Haverstock Hills apartment complex and its surrounding community in northeast Harris County."
More details will come tomorrow, but the use of civil injunctions is a growing tool in the fight against gang violence.
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How do they work? The National Crime Prevention Council says they can be effective in keeping a group from gathering at a specific geographic location.
Civil injunctions previously were used to prevent harm to the community by a factory or business; however California began to take this new anti-gang approach with criminal street gangs because the law considers them identifiable associations (due to their "colors," "signs," or tattoos).
The primary tool of the civil gang injunction is its ability to stop gang members from associating in a defined geographical area. For example, if a gang hangs out on the corner and a homeowner can't sit on his or her nearby porch without being disturbed or intimidated, relief may come in the form of a civil injunction.
The gangs don't face financial penalties for violations of the injunction, but with one in place authorities are free to break up gatherings and, if need be, establish "curfews and prohibitions against weapons, drugs, alcohol, graffiti (or graffiti tools), forcible recruiting, or against efforts by gang leaders to keep members from leaving the gang."
More details on Harris County's specific plans tomorrow.