LA Sheriff Dept meets Community regarding Asian Gangs
by: Dionesio C. Grava
The ubiquitos street gangs are sources of disturbance and violence in countries that comply with international standards on human rights issues. Laws that exist to govern social order also have loopholes which malefactors exploit. According to internet sources, over a thousand criminal gangs plagued Chicago in the 1920′s and in 2006 the problem got worse with the number of active street gang members skyrocketing to approximately 785,000 nationally. Los Angeles County has earned the title “Gang Capital of America.”
Of course, with Asians constituting a major hunk of the population, it is only predictable that in the US they are up there together with gang bangers from Italy, Mexico, Russia, former Soviet Countries, Europe, Central America and others. There is a listing of Pinoy gangs in this part of California, among them Satanas, Real Pinoy Brothers, Carson Pinoy Compadres, Akro Pinoy, Bahalana Gang, Mabuhay Pinoy, Fliptown Mob, Korat Boys, Pinoy Real, Jefrox, Judas 13, Luzon Visayas Mobsters, Pinoy Boys Gang, Pinoy Locos, Tiny Raskal Gang and Tropang Hudas.
On January 12, some members of the media joined representatives of the various advisory committees of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department in a forum held at the department’s Tactics and Survival Unit in East Sheriff Road, LA. Briefings about the law and order situation in the department’s area of responsibility was conducted by Sheriff Lee Baca, Chief Cecil Rhambo, Jr of the Monterey Park station, Sgt. Steve Kim of Operation Safe Streets and others. Members of the Asian Gang Team were also introduced and officers versed in Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai were available.
Sergeant Kim said that gangs are constantly recruiting members and that there is a steady source among the youth especially those of high school age.He gave a rough estimate of about 150 gangs and thousands of gangsters within LAPD’s jurisdiction and that Asian gangs are more into making money rather than on protecting turfs, a preoccupation of the other gangs. However, the resource speaker refused to come up with an answer to this writer’s inquiry about the size and extent of Pinoy gangs except to say that indeed some of them had been involved in past incidents of drug trafficking, shooting and robberies. He added that the gang team previously had a Filipino officer on it.
Also introduced during the media event was “Crime Stoppers”, a program that encourages members of the community to overcome fear and apathy in the process of helping in the fight against crime. One can report anonymously to a law enforcement agency and if the information given leads to an arrest or a criminal filing of a felony or misdemeanor offender, the caller becomes eligible to receive a cash reward. Officer Alexander Gomez said that there will always be a ranking official at the end of the line to make sure that reports are handled expeditiously. There are layers and layers of anonymity, he said, such that in the LASD set up, the phone line is set up in Texas. To report a crime call 800-222-tips (8477) or text the letters TIPLA plus the relevant information to 274637 or CRIMES. To report online go to http://lacrimestoppers.org and click on the link “Submit a Tip.” About crime sin progress, one has to dial 911.
Participants were later invited to have a hands-on experience on some of the department’s less lethal equipments and on the simulated “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” training. Sheriff Baca said that police officers have only a split second to decide on how to shoot the right way hence the need for intensive training. Officer Rich Thurle added that LASD’s Tactics and Survival unit aims to minimize the killing of cops, the primary causes of which are shootouts and car accidents. Pointing to a graph memorial on the wall, he said that so far in January, four of their colleagues were killed.
Last year 160 policemen died, 128 in 2009, 147 in 2008 and 197 the year before that. Thurle was joined by another officer, Mike Winter in familiarizing us with the Taser and a bean bag-shooting shotgun.