Friday, May 27, 2005

San Jose sees an increase in Latino gang violence

Crystal Carreon:

While San Jose police have declined to reveal the number of known gang members in the city, data from juvenile hall shows an alarming increase in youths across the county who identify themselves as gang members. In 2000, 51 young people at juvenile hall admitted gang ties. In 2003, the number skyrocketed to 432. And in the past 18 months, that number has grown by about 40 percent, leading to more gang violence inside the facility, said Delores Nnam, a county probation department official.

"We have seen a huge influx of gangs entering the hall," Nnam said. "Whether or not this reflects what's going on on the outside, I can't say. But here, it has definitely increased."

Officials and community members say they have indeed seen a surge in gang activity on the streets of San Jose, from stepped up recruiting of children to escalating violence.

San Jose police report that gang-related aggravated assaults, many involving weapons, increased during the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2004. This year, 64 incidents were reported; last year, there were 50.

Six people were killed in gang-related homicides during the first quarter of this year. In all of 2004, four homicides in San Jose were gang-related.

In the neighborhoods gangs call home, children -- some still in elementary school -- are confronted with a reality that seems to contradict living in America's safest big city.

Boys are beaten with baseball bats and fists, stabbed with pocket knives and machetes, or "jumped" on their way home from school. Some are shot. Other youths -- one as young as 15 -- have been charged with murder.

"What we've seen in the last month is, at least in my recollection, an unprecedented level of gang-related violence committed by juveniles in San Jose," said Kurt Kumli, a deputy district attorney who supervises juvenile prosecutions in Santa Clara County. "We're not talking about the fist fights and assaults of a year ago; we are now talking about shootings and stabbings and clubbings."

Much of this violence is due to conflicts between two Latino prison gangs:

Sureños, or southerners, and Norteños, or northerners, are offshoots and loose affiliates of two Latino prison gangs that have been at war since the late 1960s.

Typically, Norteños in Northern California are the children or grandchildren of immigrants, while Sureños are newer arrivals. They wear blue and claim the number 13 because "M" -- for the prison gang Mexican Mafia -- is the 13th letter of the alphabet. Norteños wear red and claim the number 14 for "N" -- standing either for Norteños or la Nuestra Familia, the Mexican Mafia's rival.

The importance of the colors and numbers is difficult to overstate. Police say scores of innocent Bay Area residents have been beaten or even killed in altercations that started because they were wearing red or blue. San Jose officials recently asked some retailers to stop selling clothing and gear favored by gang members.

In a recent twist, some Norteños have taken to wearing blue and some Sureños red. A Norteño might wear a baby-blue jersey from the University of North Carolina because it includes the word "North," while a Sureño might wear a red shirt or jacket by the clothing designer South Pole.

"It's like saying, 'I'm so confident, look at me in red,' " Brass said.

To many authorities, the rivalry between the two gangs appears to be based on nothing more than members' identity.

"It's the Hatfields and McCoys, and they've been at it so long they don't even know why they're shooting at each other anymore," said Sonoma County sheriff's Lt. Matt McCaffrey, who oversees the county's gang task force and agreed that the Norteños and Sureños are becoming increasingly violent.

McCaffrey said he often gets the same response when he questions a Sureño about his motive for a violent act: "He's a Norteño."

Unwittingly, chain offered shirt with gang symbols

On his turf

Taking a stand against violence


At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, since gang related violence in California cities is nothing new, here's the most remarkable thing about this story: neither 'Hispanic' nor 'Latino' appears once. Note: the title of the original story is "San Jose sees surge in gang violence', and any information about the ethnicity of those involved has been added here. Think about that for a moment: the basic fact that in San Jose gang violence is almost exclusively a problem with Hispanics (California wide it is almost exclusively a non-white problem) is omitted from the story. Why is that? As if the reader doesn't know. Honestly, though, this is typical for what passes as 'reporting' (aka selective omission of facts) in the SJMN, which sadly has become one of the most absurdly politically correct newspapers in the country -- its bylines now read like a UN rollcall.

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Atreyu42 said...

"San Jose gang violence is almost exclusively a problem with Hispanics"

Because most of illegal inmigrants are hispanic. Illegal inmigrants associate in gangs because... what else can they do? When you are an illegal inmigrant you can't go to the police if you have problems. That's why at the beginning they use gangs for protection. Then the gangs become a Mafia who extorts other defenceless Hispanics.

Solution? Give rights to illegal inmigrants. If they can go to the police without being afraid about being expeled from the US, they won't need the gangs anymore.

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Solution? Give rights to illegal inmigrants. If they can go to the police without being afraid about being expeled from the US, they won't need the gangs anymore."

I guess these gangs just deal in drugs, rape, robbery, and murder out of boredom, right? Much of CA unfortunately falls under "sanctuary" laws - certainly the most ganged up areas - and illegal aliens have little to fear in reporting a crime against themselves. There is no country on earth that is as open and free as the US, where criminals' rights are so respected. We are sitting ducks for these savages.

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the major cities in the US(not just CA) have sanctuary laws that prevent local police from inquiring agout immigration status. These cities include New York, Chicago and Houston.

At 2:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well people join gangs to be protected.Once ur in a gang you feel strong and you can do whatever when your homiez are around.Even when their not you know you still got protection.Then you meet new homiez and be known and have back up all around!

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