In response to an increasing gang presence throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the City of Oxnard, in partnership with the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, sought a court order establishing gang injunctions in 2005 against the Colonia Chiques and Southside Chiques street gangs.The two civil gang injunctions proved to be an effective tool in a comprehensive approach to reduce gang violence in Oxnard’s neighborhoods.
By late 2017, two California court decisions significantly changed the requirements for placing individuals on injunctions. As a result of the need to change processes, the Oxnard Police Department suspended enforcement of its two gang injunctions. Over the course of the next two and a half years, the Oxnard Police Department and the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office worked together to develop processes that would be compliant with the new court decisions. However, these practices added steps that, while procedurally sound and on firm legal ground, have shown to be especially time and labor intensive. One significant consequence of this was that it had become burdensome to manage even a small number of gang members. A review of the cost-effectiveness and resources needed to properly continue the effort prompted the decision to discontinue civil gang injunctions in Oxnard for the foreseeable future.
“We always looked at the gang injunctions as one tool, of many, in our efforts to reduce gang crime. When we announced our intent to seek the first injunction, we saw an immediate decrease in gang activity. From the start, we used a measured and thoughtful approach toward the management and enforcement of the injunctions. Over time, gang behavior has evolved and court decisions restricted our use of the injunctions. Both of these factors made the injunctions less impactful in lowering gang crime. Since 2017, we have been unable to enforce the two injunctions. In our continuing efforts to best use our limited resources, we have determined that we will no longer maintain and enforce the two injunctions.” – Chief Scott Whitney
District Attorney Greg Totten shared, “I respect the decision by Chief Whitney to cease enforcement of the gang injunctions in Oxnard, where gang association and related crime has evolved from street corners to smart phones. As gangs adapt their methods of perpetrating crime, so must law enforcement in order to bring those who commit violent gang crimes to justice.”