Gang Injunction Includes Three Men Acquitted of Murders This Year
The injunction (which brings the number of gangs that Herrera has targeted to seven) prevents the listed defendants from associating, trespassing, loitering, or flashing gang signs in the two-tenths of a square mile in Visitacion Valley near the Cow Palace that comprises their turf.
The injunction affects members of the Down Below Gang of the Sunnydale housing projects and the Towerside gang, named for the crime-stricken Geneva Towers that used to rise above the valley near the Daly City border before its residents voted to tear them down so town home-style housing units could be erected in their place. The city attorney's court filing claims the rivalry has led to 10 homicides in the last three years.
In a 2007 cover story "Out of San Francisco," we wrote about one family who lived in Towerside gang turf that was so scathed by the neighborhood's ongoing violence -- one son left with a traumatic brain injury, another rendered a paraplegic from gunshot wounds -- that they moved out of the city. At that time, area residents talked about constant gunfire and keeping their kids on virtual lockdown at night to keep them out of harm's way.
While critics charge that injunctions are McCarthyesque civil rights violations that merely push crime to other areas, Herrera, who is currently running for mayor, presents compelling statistics that his previous injunctions have exacted a "mellowing effect" on the amount of non-injunction arrests of the listed gang members over time. Forty-one percent of the listed gang members were arrested for non-injunction-related crimes in 2007, while 20 percent were arrested for such crimes in 2009.
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