Declaring war on a local street gang tied to three recent shooting deaths, the City Council has agreed to seek a civil injunction that would bar members from engaging in a host of otherwise legal activities.
Modeled after a similar action taken by the council in 1991, the injunction would prevent members of the Shaken' Cat Midgets from, among other things, gathering in public or on private property within the injunction area without written permission of the owner.
The targeted area would be bordered by Celis Street on the north, Lazard Street on the west, O'Melveny Avenue on the south and San Fernando Mission Boulevard on the east.
In two unanimous decisions Monday, the council passed a resolution calling for zero tolerance for gangs and adopted a strategy for dealing with the Shaken' Cat Midgets. Councilman Doude Wysbeek, who worked with the Police Department to draw up the new gang suppression strategy, said that residents have demanded that the city address the problem.
"This is a violent group of people," said Wysbeek. "We've had three killings in six months in our city. We are a small city and this is simply not tolerable. Everyone has a right to be safe on their street."
Despite the objections of some who say the measures violate civil liberties, the courts have approved other similar injunctions, including one in August making it illegal for members of the notorious 18th Street gang to associate with each other.
Councilman Richard Alarcon recently asked the Los Angeles City Council to support an injunction on Orion Avenue in North Hills.
In addition to the punitive measures directed at members, the city's gang suppression strategy also includes several other aspects. Using $41,000 in seed money, the city will establish a task force to identify individual gang members, create a citywide reward policy, open a gang activity hotline and implement a voluntary tattoo removal program.
"What it comes down to, in effect, is that it will be illegal to be a gang member in the target area," said Mayor Raul Godinez II. "These guys are terrorizing this neighborhood and we are going to fight them with every legal means available."