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The City Fights Back


FBI and Los Angeles law enforcement officials at Jan. 18 press conference
Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo speaks during the Jan. 18 press conference in Wilmington, California. He is joined by (from right) FBI Director Robert Mueller, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Los Angeles Chief of Police William Bratton, and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

She was just 14 years old. Last month, a teenager was gunned down in Los Angeles, apparently as an act of racial revenge by a local gang.

Now, the city is taking back the streets—in the name of this youngster and all those who have been victimized by a rising tide of gang violence in L.A.

On January 18, FBI Director Robert Mueller joined L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Police Chief Bill Bratton, County Sheriff Lee Baca , and other city and federal officials in announcing a new, multi-agency gang task force to combat the problem.

The task force will pool resources from across government in a major crack down on the 204 th Street gang reportedly behind Green’s murder and on other gangs citywide.

"We have a message for these gang leaders,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “We are coming with everything we have … and we are putting you out of business."

Among the actions planned:

  • Joint patrols by L.A. police and the sheriffs, including the sharing of vehicles;
  • Greater collection of intelligence on gangs and their members;
  • Creation of a list of the worst 10-20 L.A. gangs to be targeted;
  • Cooperation with neighboring cities like Torrance where some gang members have spread;
  • A crack down on graffiti and vandalism by gangs;
  • Injunctions, lawsuits, and curfews to keep the gangs off the streets and out of certain areas;
  • Increased surveillance of gang activities and more investigations of narcotics violations and gun crimes by federal agents; and
  • The use of stiffer federal hate crime and civil rights laws.

Visibly moved at the press conference by the story of the teenager’s killing, Director Mueller pledged the FBI’s support, including assigning agents to the task force. “ We will be working shoulder to shoulder with police officers in these areas,” he said.

Earlier that day Mueller described the FBI’s strategies and successes in addressing the gang menace in Los Angeles and nationwide during a speech at the Chamber of Commerce.

Gang violence is up 14 percent in L.A., despite a drop in the overall crime rate. The city has an estimated 700 gangs with 40,000 members and is the birthplace of notorious gangs such as MS-13, the Bloods, and the Crips.

For more information on our fight against gangs, see our recent story and our Violent Gangs webpage.