Community Perspectives on Neighborhood Impacts of a Civil Gang Injunction

Cheryl L. Maxson, University of California, Irvine
Karen A. Hennigan, University of Southern California
David C. Sloane, University of Southern California

Southern California law enforcement agencies increasingly favor civil gang injunctions (CGIs) as a strategy to address street gang violence and crime, asserting their positive impact on neighborhood quality of life. Heretofore, assessments of the impact of CGIs have focused upon official crime rates. Indeed, one recent evaluation found a modest reduction in violent, although not property, crime. Here, we report findings from a quasi-experimental study of changes in community resident perspectives in one Southern California city that implemented an injunction in the fall of 2002. Four neighborhoods were surveyed in the winter of 2000, and again in 2003, regarding fear of crime and victimization, gang visibility and intimidation, and neighborhood disorder and social cohesion. This presentation examines evidence of a detectable impact of a GCI on these indicators. We conclude with an assessment of the implications of the study for law enforcement approaches to reduce gang activity and improve neighborhood environmnents.

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Updated 05/20/2006