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Squad focuses on plan to stop gangs

Crime: Officials look to stem ‘foreign’ influence on SCV crime

Posted: August 17, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: August 17, 2011 1:30 a.m.

A new Sheriff’s Department night-time anti-gang squad is about to hit Santa Clarita Valley streets in search of gang members who come here to commit crimes, the local sheriff’s captain said this week.

“Primarily, we’re looking at foreign gang members,” Capt. Paul Becker said of the gang members being sought by the team, which will be deployed after training is complete this month.

“These are gang members that are coming up from outside (the Santa Clarita Valley).”

For the last three weeks, deputies assigned to the special squad have been in training, he said.

The initial “patrol team,” called the Gang Specialty Squad, includes a sergeant and two deputies.

Becker said he hopes to move an additional two deputies to the new squad for a total of five.

“We’re looking at any gangs that impact the Santa Clarita Valley,” he said. “That includes any gang members that are up here that are basically furthering doing crimes for the gang.”

Becker said he is pleased with the progress of the special team so far.

“It’s going well. There’s been a lot of training involved, getting teams schooled up and trained — that’s primarily what they’ve been doing.”

There are about 253 documented gang members in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to statistics published by the local Sheriff’s Station in conjunction with the city of Santa Clarita and the Los Angeles County Fire Department to promote August as “Gang Awareness Month.”

Since 1991, the city’s Anti-Gang Task Force has provided at-risk and gang-affiliated individuals with positive alternatives, resources and assistance, according to the same group promoting gang awareness.


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