Fighting crime and dealing with violent gang members are best left to experts trained in handling dangerous situations.
The California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention (STEP) Act eradicates criminal gang conduct by focusing upon patterns of criminal gang activity and the organized nature of street gangs. Penal Code §186.22 provides that:
- Participation in a criminal street gang with knowledge that its members engage in criminal activity is punishable as either a misdemeanor or felony.
- Conviction for a crime or public offense which was committed to promote or assist in criminal conduct by gang members is punished by an additional term in county jail or state prison.
- A building or place used by gang members for the purpose of the commission of specified offenses will be considered nuisance, which shall be enjoined, abated and prevented, and for which damages may be recovered, whether it is in a public or a private place.
Firearms. Effective January 1, 1992, any firearm, its ammunition, or any deadly or dangerous weapon owned or possessed by a member of a criminal street gang to commit specified offenses may be confiscated by any law enforcement agency or peace officer, Penal Code, §186.22a(e).
Drive-by Shootings. An additional and consecutive punishment of five years in state prison shall be prescribed for any gang related drive-by shooting, specifically:
- Shooting at an occupied motor vehicle. Any person who is convicted of a felony or an attempted felony, in which that person discharged a firearm which caused great bodily injury or death.
- Shooting from a motor vehicle. Any person who with intent to inflict great bodily injury or death, inflicts great bodily injury or death, as a result of discharging a firearm in the commission of a felony or attempted felony and who is convicted of the felony or attempted felony, Penal Code, §12022.55 (b)(1) and (c).
- Anti-Graffiti Laws. It is a misdemeanor for any person to sell, give or in any way furnish to a minor any aerosol container of paint that can be used to deface property. It is also a misdemeanor for any person under the age of 18 years to purchase an aerosol container of paint, which can be used to deface property, Penal Code, §594.1.