The Santa Ana Sentinel

Anaheim: Digging to the Root of a Problem

Posted in Crime, Opinion by Omar Ávalos Gallegos on July 24, 2012

The recent police shootings in Anaheim are part of a larger web of circumstances that create a chain of causes and effects.

There is a trend when comparing Anaheim and Santa Ana where Anaheim’s crime is rising, while Santa Ana’s is dropping, but why?

Santa Ana is only now starting to pick itself up and define itself as a majority Latino town, but it crossed the 50% percent mark decades ago. Anaheim has only now crossed it, and that percentage will continue to grow.

Santa Ana during the 90s was terribly challenging for a youth to grow up in because of the many distractions and gang activities occurring here. It was common to hear shootings on almost a nightly basis. Tagging and party crews were at their high point, and both types of groups began acting more and more like traditional gangs.

But in the 90s injunctions were placed on some of the neighborhoods with the most gang activity. The Sixth Street gang was eradicated as was Santa’Nita. Now one is truly hard-pressed to find the types of activities and gang loitering common in years past.

The situation in Anaheim is telling of a state of relations between the city’s barrios and the status quo. Anaheim is in an early process of redefining itself as a majority Latino town, and it is clear that the rest of Anaheim has not caught up to this reality. Why? Because Anaheim barrios seem detached from and neglected by police and city hall.

Proof of this claim is that gangs are apparently allowed to congregate still, and that there are no known gang injunctions in Anaheim that I know of. Injunctions may be a necessary and possible step in Anaheim’s future. Will that eliminate all crime? No, but it will contribute to dropping Anaheim’s crime rate.

No one in their right mind will argue against giving youth alternatives to gangs. Our young men and women need moral support at home and at school. The only fault that many parents have is that they have to work so many hours that it ends up affecting parenting. This then creates a cause and effect where youth becomes apathetic and unmotivated, which begets dropping out of high school.

Once in school they need teachers and counselors that genuinely want to see their students advance. Beyond that, they need to be proactive and take initiative when it comes to motivating kids. That can make a tremendous positive impact on a kid. But there are cases of apathetic and indifferent teachers that only want to collect their buck and I have to wonder if that is an attitude that is contributing to the alarming Latino high school dropout rate.

I’m not here to defend the actions of a cop. The incident on Saturday in Anaheim was a murder, by a trained killer.

But I don’t want to give a trigger happy trained killer any reason to attempt or commit murder. I don’t want that kid to be running drugs or to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to begin with. I don’t want an angered young man with a gun ready to get payback on a cop to get killed, and this is precisely what happened on Sunday night in Anaheim. That shouldn’t happen to begin with.

Don’t give them a reason to attack.

And as far as you go, Anaheim City Council, you need the political will to force gang injunctions on affected neighborhoods. You’re so damn busy trying to keep Mickey and Minnie happy that you’re out of touch with reality.

4 Responses

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  1. Arturo said, on July 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Hello Omar, my name is Arturo and i live in Anaheim. I would like to inform you about some things you clearly don’t know about and correct some of the false statements you made. Anaheim has a had a very large latino pressence for along time and has been a hispanic majority city for many years, and in the 90’s there gang problem was through the roof. In 1995 Anaheim had 27 homicides,not as much as santa ana which had somewhere in the mid 40s but still very challenging for a youth.Crime has really gone down since the 90’s in both cities. Another thing i would like to correct is how you said Anaheim has no gang injunctions: Anaheim has the most gang injunctions in OC.It has 3 gang injunctions and one of the injunctions is for a gang that has two different neighborhoods. If you would like to know more about my beautiful city of anaheim please feel free to ask me.

    • Omar Ávalos Gallegos said, on July 31, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      Thank you for the information about the injunctions. As I wrote, I was unaware of any injunction in Anaheim.

      Let me be clear that it is not my intention to portray Anaheim in a negative light.

      The sudden surge in crime, and the increased frequency in which it happens, in parts of Anaheim is troubling though. I have a friend who lives there near Philadelphia and South streets, and he told me that the city has cut funding for after school programs so that may be contributing to a rise in crime.

      It’s a deep problem with a solution that probably has to go beyond injunctions. Prevention is also needed.

      The same goes for us in Santa Ana.

  2. Amber Stephens said, on August 3, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Orange County District Attorney: “The ninth (gang) injunction is the third to be brought against a gang in Anaheim.” http://www.orangecountyda.com/templates/printer_version.asp?type=news&page=8&recordid=2378

    The DA is also the same entity that investigates officer-involved shootings.

    • Omar Ávalos Gallegos said, on August 3, 2012 at 3:20 am

      Ok, so the DA is in charge of imposing injunctions and already has. Got it. Well so much for having the most injunctions of the Orange County cities. We see how effective those methods have been in curtailing gang activity, burglaries, and rioting. So a more effective solution has to come through prevention.


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