Gang violence across America puts in jeopardy the peace and tranquility of neighborhoods. Cities are challenged to keep their communities safe from gang violence. One common way in which cities attempt to combat violent gang activity is by using gang injunctions. Gang injunctions are court orders that prohibit gang members from conducting already-illegal activities such as vandalism, loitering, and use or possession of illegal drugs or weapons within a defined area. These injunctions, however, also prohibit otherwise legal activity such as associating with others within the restricted area of the injunction, using words or hand gestures, and wearing certain clothing. The increased use of gang injunctions to combat violent gang activity is a controversial tactic. The use of gang injunctions raises many constitutional concerns, including violations of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 14th amendments. Even if interpreted as constitutional, gang injunctions have been proven ineffective in preventing and deterring gang members from engaging in violent gang activity. Critics believe that gang injunctions create gang cohesiveness, animosity towards the police, and relocate the violent crime created by gang members by pushing gang members into adjacent neighborhoods just outside the injunction's target area. Finally, there are several proven-effective alternatives to gang injunctions. This Note explores the unconstitutionality of gang injunctions, reveals the ineffectiveness of gang injunctions, and investigates more effective and efficient alternatives.
Thomas A. Myers,
The Unconstitutionality, Ineffectiveness, and Alternatives of Gang Injunctions,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol14/iss2/4