Law enforcement tries to curb increasing gang violence in LA, OC counties

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Authorities attended a conference in Garden Grove in an effort to stop increasing gang violence in Orange and Los Angeles counties. (KABC)

Authorities attended a conference in Garden Grove in an effort to stop increasing gang violence in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Santa Ana police are trying to curb violence in neighborhoods known for gang activity after more than 50 shootings took place in the first 50 days of the year.

"Over the last 20 months, gang crime in Orange County has surged in the city of Santa Ana," Garden Grove Police Chief Todd Elgin said. "In Garden Grove, gang assaults have increased by 30 percent over the previous year."

Some blame the problem on Proposition 47, which reduced some felony theft and drug-related crimes to misdemeanors.

Another law, Assembly Bill 109, aimed at easing prison overcrowding by shifting some state prisoners to county supervision, is also being blamed. In the past, the Los Angeles County probation department said there was no evidence to link an increased in crime to AB109.

But the growing problem of gang crime is not isolated to Orange County. More than 700 members of law enforcement from across the U.S., Canada, Australia and France are looking for solutions at a National Gang Violence Conference in Garden Grove.

"Gangs have become more sophisticated and are now more focused on making money and less on turf," Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said.

Authorities said gangs are using technology and social media to their advantage. The crimes include drug-related offenses, money laundering and human trafficking.

Authorities said the average age of those lured into the sex trade are 12 to 14 years old. Orange County is trying to fight the problem, as well as L.A. County, which started a Human Trafficking Task Force. The force partners with law enforcement, prosecutors and community organizers, which has led to more than 90 arrests.
Related Topics:
newsgang violencegang activitygangorange county sheriff's departmentlos angeles county sheriff's departmentOrange CountySanta AnaLos Angeles CountyGarden Grove
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