Santa Ana police confirmed it: Gang violence has escalated in the city this year.
Since January, 90 gang-related crimes have occurred, including 62 assault-and-battery incidents and three killings.
In response, police announced a crackdown. Among other things, older gang members will be targeted for arrest to unravel gang leadership. Street patrols also have been increased.
A major reason for the increased crime, said police, is the expansion of a gang of illegal aliens called "the Lopers." Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard L. Fredrickson, who prosecutes gang members in Orange County Juvenile Court, said, "Lopers are the primary agitators in the county right now."
Police said other gangs--the city has an estimated 35 of them--also have stepped up violence, mainly over territorial conflicts.