City Cracking Down on Gangs with Innovative New Approach

February 27, 2007 – The City of West Palm Beach is taking a proactive approach to combating organized, violent crime by passing new anti-gang legislation. The new ordinance, passed unanimously by the City Commission on Monday, February 26, 2007, deems criminal street gangs and their use of a place a public nuisance.

“This ordinance will give our police an additional tool in their fight against gangs,” said Mayor Lois J. Frankel. “This will help enable police to take an aggressive approach towards dealing with gang members, and will help us keep our neighborhoods and streets safe.”

The new ordinance allows the City to take a civil cause of action to fight the public nuisance created by gangs and their members. Gang members could be served court injunctions preventing them from showing up in certain public places. Violating that order would lead to their arrest, as well as the imposition of fines and possibly jail time.

Cities in both California and Texas have successfully obtained gang injunctions and have found them useful in taking back their neighborhoods and city parks that were once plagued by well-organized, violent gangs.

The City of West Palm Beach is the first law enforcement agency in Palm Beach County to embrace this innovative approach to helping fight gangs. The ordinance is just one piece of the City’s effort to fight gangs. The City is also focusing on keeping kids out of gangs through youth intervention, opening a Youth Empowerment Center in the City’s north end.

For Additional Information:
West Palm Beach Public Information Officer @
(561) 822-1433 / 822-1411 or webpio@wpb.org