Gang Injunction Becomes Permanent in Harris County District's Safety Zone

Harris County Attorney's Office
The Bounty Hunter Bloods are among the groups authorities say operate in the east Aldine District
As a rule, nearly 50 gang members are personae non gratae in an area now known as the East Aldine Safety Zone in north Harris County. Most gang members might bristle at the Latinate for "we don't want you 'round here," or the sketchy legality (First Amendement right, hear me?) that is the recent embrace of so-called gang injunctions here in Harris County.

The injunction which was introduced earlier this year was made permanent this week by the 164th Civil District Court. Their target was gang activity, including recruitment and violence near the Haverstock Hills Apartments in the area. The area is just south of Bush Intercontinental Airport and east of Highway 59.

See Also: County Attorney Puts Another Gang Injunction on the Books

"The members of these street gangs regularly engage in criminal activity in this community, putting residents in danger and harming their quality of life," Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan said in a statment. "This type of injunction is a proven way to remove dangerous criminals from a community."

An investigation dating back to around 2010 into gang crimes in the area led to the recent action. According to the county attorney's office gang specialists for the Harris County Sheriff's Office and the Houston Police Department, apartment security staff and management, testified about the crime among Bloods and Crips within the safety zone.

"The permanent injunction states that the defendants have been regularly engaging in gang activities in this community, including weapons offenses, criminal trespass, possession of illegal substances, and making terroristic threats. The injunction bans the included gang members from being physically present in the Safety Zone," the attorney's office explained.

"We're very careful with [these court orders]," Robert Soared, a county spokesperson told us in a previous interview.

The whole banning people from freely associating with others, which is the main point of any gang injunction, is always something that come into question. Under an injunction any contact with someone else in a gang is illegal. Violators of the injunction could get over a year in jail for any offense within the safety zone.

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Camilo Hannibal Smith started writing for the Houston Press in 2014. A former copy editor, he was inspired to focus on writing about pop culture and entertainment after a colleague wrote a story about Paul Wall's grills. His work has been published in the Los Angeles Times and the Source magazine.