FBI, police put heat on gangs in Los Angeles

FBI, police put heat on gangs in Los Angeles

The FBI has joined the Los Angeles Police Department in putting pressure on southside youth gangs with the result that homicides have fallen more than 20 percent below 2002.

The push against gangs came after Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton raised alarms last November.

In anticipation of a rising tide of violence, Bratton reassigned officers to the most crime-ridden areas and appealed for federal assistance.

Bratton estimated the LAPD’s 9,000 sworn officers were confronting 100,000 members of gangs that trafficked guns and drugs from Los Angeles into other metro areas nationwide.

Bratton planned a coordinated attack with U.S. Attorney Debra Yang and also gained support from the FBI despite announcements in Washington that special agents would be deployed less frequently on details other than counter-terrorism.

The police chief asked prosecutors to use the racketeering and tax evasion laws against gang kingpins, who, he said, direct nationwide drug, prostitution, kidnapping and extortion rings from Los Angeles.

Even a spurt of murders and shooting incidents during the summer months didn’t change the overall pattern of declining gang activity that aggressive police action has brought.

Los Angeles has intensified patrols in trouble spots in recent months, particularly where most gang activity occurs.

Federal agents and officers have made sweeps that have led to multiple arrests, pursued the most notorious fugitives and put pressure on reducing public nuisance misdemeanor crimes.

Officers resuscitated the Community Effort to Combat Auto Theft (CECAT) program with positive results that led to arrests of parole violators implicated in burglaries and identity theft, and busts of chop shop operations.

Police also put more resources into reopening cold cases.

Copyright Washington Crime News Service Sep 2, 2003

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