In a continued effort to provide for a safe community free from gang violence and intimidation, the Oxnard Police Department partnered with the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office and implemented two civil gang injunctions against local gangs:
- A permanent gang injunction against Colonia Chiques was granted on June 1, 2005.
- A permanent gang injunction against Southside Chiques was granted on September 18, 2006.
- The Colonia Chiques gang injunction was modified on May 19, 2008.
Both injunctions are civil lawsuits against a street gang and its members based on the legal theory of “public nuisance.” The theory is that the conduct and activities of the street gang within the “safety zone” constitute a public nuisance; gang activity interferes with the community’s comfortable enjoyment of life and their property. The purposes of these injunctions are to abate this nuisance by requiring gang members to refrain from negative behavior, which are specifically listed in the order.
The gang injunctions prohibit enjoined gang members from engaging in a variety of actions, some that would otherwise be legal if committed by a person not subjected to the terms of the injunctions. Enforcement of the prohibitions on served gang members will break up the precursor activity that leads to violent crime. For example, law enforcement knows that historically a group of gang members drinking in the early evening can often result in violent assaults or other criminal activity as their aggression and inhibitions are affected by alcohol and/or drug consumption. Therefore, preventing gang members from gathering in a public place consuming alcohol and/or drugs can prevent more serious activity from occurring later that evening.
An enjoined person who is subject to the provisions of either injunction that violates its terms violates Penal Code section166(a)(10) (violation of a court order), which carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and a potential fine of up to $1,000. Upon conviction probation terms can be added to include gang terms.
Gang injunctions have been used for over twenty years. There are more than 40 injunctions in place throughout California, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and Fresno. Their legality has been upheld in the California Supreme Court.
Oxnard’s gang injunctions only apply to members of the gang who engage in acts prohibited by the lawsuit. These prohibitions would have to occur in a defined “safety zone.” Community members are not under any authority of the injunction. Essentially, 99.85% of Oxnard’s population would not be subject in any way to the prohibitions of the injunctions. These injunctions are enforceable only against gang members who have been served, and who are in the safety zone, and in violation of one or more of the prohibitions as outline in the injunction.