More than 1,400 criminal street gangs exist in Los Angeles County.
Gang crimes – from graffiti and quality of life problems to murder and
extortion – devastate a community’s well-being and sense of security.
To fight gang activity, the District Attorney’s Office pursues a
comprehensive strategy that includes suppression, intervention, and
Prosecution & Witness Protection
The District Attorney’s Office removes dangerous criminals from the
street by aggressively prosecuting criminal gang activity. The
Hardcore Gang Division is comprised of more than 50 specially
trained and highly experienced attorneys who prosecute the most
difficult gang murder and attempted murder cases in Los Angeles
County. Laws such as Penal Code Section 186.20, the Street
Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention (STEP) Act, enable deputy
district attorneys to seek enhanced penalties and stiffer sentences
for gang members. The Hardcore Gang Division vertically prosecutes
cases throughout the county, which means that one deputy district
attorney prosecutes each case from beginning to end.
The testimony of crime witnesses is vital to the prosecution of
gang cases. The District Attorney’s Office recognizes that fear of
gangs can prevent witnesses from cooperating with a prosecution. As a
result, deputy district attorneys often work with the D.A.’s
Bureau of Investigation and local law
enforcement agencies to relocate witnesses to safer environments.
Hardcore Gang prosecutors participate in the six Community Law
Enforcement And Recovery (C.L.E.A.R.) program sites throughout the
County. C.L.E.A.R. – a multi-agency collaborative law enforcement
effort – targets members of specific gangs that pose the greatest
threat to a specifically defined community. By teaming with police,
deputy sheriffs, probation officers, deputy city attorneys, and
others, prosecutors effectively combat gang activity.
C.L.E.A.R. Program Sites:
- L.A.P.D. Devonshire Division
- L.A.P.D. Foothill Division
- L.A.P.D. Newton Division
- L.A.P.D. Northeast Division
- L.A.P.D. Pacific Division
- L.A.S.D. Century Station (Florencia)
Deputy district attorneys in the Heightened Enforcement And
Targeting (H.E.A.T.) program also work closely with
local police to monitor and prosecute the most dangerous gang
criminals. H.E.A.T. is similar to C.L.E.A.R., but it targets more
specifically defined gang problems and activities that each community
has identified. The program is tailored to each site, and often
focuses on juvenile gang activity.
- East Los Angeles
- Inglewood (Juvenile)
- Long Beach (Juvenile)
- Pasadena (Juvenile)
Unsolved Homicide Team
Some of the most senior gang prosecutors in the District Attorney’s
Office are assigned to the Unsolved Homicide Team, a team that
works with expert law enforcement detectives to investigate and
prosecute previously unsolved gang crimes.
Deputy district attorneys work in communities throughout the County
to respond to gang violence, drug dealers, and other public nuisance
problems that deteriorate the quality of life in a neighborhood.
Prosecutors and community outreach representatives also serve on
the county’s 13 regional Interagency Gang Task Forces. Each
task force – which includes representatives from law enforcement,
government agencies, and other community stakeholders – aims to
develop effective strategies to combat gangs in its region.
The District Attorney’s Office has also allocated resources
specifically to help craft gang injunctions. Injunctions are a
civil approach to dealing with the gang problem. Injunctions target
specific gangs and gang members, making it a crime for them to conduct
certain activities. Injunctions are imposed in specific areas
and have helped communities reclaim parks, neighborhoods, and other
areas previously held hostage by gangs.
In addition to prosecution and intervention efforts, the District
Attorney’s Office works with youth to prevent gang involvement.
Whether fighting truancy, mentoring youth, or teaching elementary
school students about the social and legal consequences of crime, the
District Attorney’s Office helps prevent youth involvement in gangs.
Visit this website’s Working with Communities
section to read more about the District Attorney’s crime prevention