Stanislaus County has between 10,000 and 12,000 gang members, and more than 5,000 are documented.
To put these numbers into perspective, gang members in our community represent a greater number than the entire population of Denair, Del Rio, Westley, Grayson, Hickman and Hughson combined. There’s no question we need to find solutions to our gang problem, and it’s time to get serious.
We need a publicly accessible gang database similar to Megan’s Law (an online sex-offender locator). This database would provide specific information on documented gang members, such as a name, description, age and crimes he or she has been convicted of.
Cal Gangs is a statewide gang database currently for law enforcement’s use only. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we should open part of this database so the general public can search for documented gang members living in their area. Just as we have the right to know if a sexual predator is living in our neighborhoods, we have the right to know if domestic terrorists live there also. Documented gang members in our community far outnumber sexual predators, and they pose an even greater threat.
If any of you has tried to get a gang member’s name, you know how difficult it can be. Typically, you can’t get close enough to get a street name, much less a real name. With access to a publicly accessible gang database, you could instantly get that information, and it would dramatically reduce the number of calls to law enforcement without specific suspect information. I also predict with a database, the number of calls with specific suspect information will rise sharply. A publicly accessible gang database will empower the general public by providing life-saving information should they or someone they know become the target or a victim of a documented gang member.
Knowledge is power.
Linda Taylor, Turlock