by Eric Alfaro
Gangs operating in Yolo County:
- Nazi Low-Riders
- 1-80 Boys
- Tiny Rascals Gang (TRG)
- AUSA Skinheads
- Mara Salvatrucha (Ms-13)
- F***ed Up Punks (FUPS)
The gang members in Yolo County have all been validated through a gang validation process outlined by the California Gang Node Advisory Commission.
2.18. Criteria To Determine Gang Profile: A subject can be entered into the CALGANG® database when two of the following criteria are found through investigation, coupled with the officers training and expertise. The only single criteria approved for entry is an in-custody jail classification interview:
- 2.18.1. Subject has admitted to being a gang member.
- 2.18.2. Subject has been arrested with known gang members for offenses consistent with gang activity.
- 2.18.3. Subject has been identified as a gang member by a reliable informant/source.
- 2.18.4. Subject has been identified as a gang member by an untested informant.
- 2.18.5. Subject has been seen affiliating with documented gang members.
- 2.18.6. Subject has been seen displaying gang symbols and/or hand signs.
- 2.18.7. Subject has been seen frequenting gang areas.
- 2.18.8. Subject has been seen wearing gang dress.
- 2.18.9. Subject is known to have gang tattoos.
- 2.18.10. In custody Classification interview. (All others require two criteria).
Although the Yolo County District Attorney’s office has been able to provide some statistical information on gangs; the office has not been able to substantiate those numbers.
Under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), the public has the right to inspect public records when those records do not hinder on current investigations or on sensitive confidential materials.
A gang validation list serves two main purposes for law enforcement officials. First, it allows the county to gauge the degree of gang activity in the region. Secondly, they facilitate the District Attorney’s gang enhancements on criminal convictions. With this universal way to identify gang members, conviction punishments can be increased, sometimes greatly, with a gang enhancement added to a criminal conviction.
The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office has never released demographic or age records related to gang members in Yolo County. The Office claims that since certain records have never been compiled by any Yolo County law enforcement agency—they have not been able to provide them to the public.
The District Attorney’s office can identify 1,088 validated gang members in Yolo County, and according to them, no gang validated inmates are currently being kept in the Yolo County Jail.
Either convicted criminal gang members are receiving heavy prison time, and thus bypassing county jail or Yolo County has no criminal gang problem. The question daunts on many people; How can the Yolo County Jail hold no validated gang members when Yolo County allegedly has 1,088 of them on the loose?
This clear discrepancy with being able to identify 1,088 gang members, and not being able to retrieve their age or demographic information has many people asking questions.
Transparency in the Yolo County justice system has reached a very unfortunate roadblock.
The “gang problem” in Yolo County must be approached holistically. Many low socioeconomic communities run the risk of being considered “gang areas”. People in rough neighborhoods run the risk of being seen “affiliating” with documented gang members.
Sooner or later kids from areas that have become marginalized, with enough association, run the risk of becoming validated gang members themselves.
Objective claims cannot be made about Yolo County’s gang problem when important facts have yet to be compiled by the D.A’s, Yolo County Gang Task Force.
How is it that information like the age and demographic of gang members has never been archived by the Yolo County District Attorney?
UC Davis recently discovered that forcible sex offenses from 2005-2007 had been significantly over-reported. The over-reporting was uncovered with the help of the Clery act, which requires publications of yearly reports containing specific campus crime statistics.
In Yolo County, gang statistics have never been completely validated. Without a paper trail confirming statistical claims, a degree of doubt will always surround Yolo County’s gang problem.
The most recent (September 2009) California Department of Justice (DOJ), Death in Custody report , fails to reflect the death of Luis Gutierrez, a Woodland native killed on April 30th, 2009 by undercover gang suppression sheriff deputies.
Questions as to whether the Yolo County Justice system is accurately reporting records to the public and state have encouraged many concerned citizens to organize around the Yolo County District Attorney.