LANCASTER – City of Lancaster officials and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have turned their sights on a group of local hoodlums associated with the Bloods gang who have been targeting the Antelope Valley, according to a city news release issued Thursday. Read the release below:
[The Bloods gang] has preyed upon Valley citizens in recent months, showing a blatant disregard for the rights and property of others. Their recent focus on Lancaster neighborhoods has resulted in a rise in burglary, robbery, grand theft auto, and larceny/theft crimes.
“The City of Lancaster, the Lancaster Sheriff’s Department, and the citizens of this valley have worked too hard fighting crime over the past several years to have this group of thugs try to destroy our community’s sense of safety and peace of mind,” said City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “The Bloods picked on the wrong city and the wrong Mayor, and now have a real battle on their hands… one they did not anticipate.”
The City and the Lancaster Sheriff’s station have a number of tactical operations in place to combat the criminal activities being perpetuated by this gang. Organized units such as the Targeted Oriented Policing (TOPs), Lancaster Community Appreciation Project (LANCAP), Robbery Suppression, and Burglary Suppression teams, along with the ever-watchful eyes of the City’s Neighborhood Watch and Business Watch groups, serve as ongoing crime fighters throughout the community.
There are more crime-fighting tools on the horizon, however, as law enforcement efforts ramp up with more strategic missions and more advanced technology-driven resources. Going forward, criminals will be met with more targeted and undercover operations by law enforcement. They will also be challenged by the soon-to-be-launched Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System (LEAPS), which will minimize gang member’s ability to hide from the law. With these ramped up tactics and high-tech resources, Sheriff’s Deputies will be able to better address gang crime in the Antelope Valley.
Those caught committing crimes will also be subject to gang enhancements in sentencing and prison time, as allowed by California state law.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Erik Ruble of the Operation Safe Streets Bureau (OSS) said, “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s gang unit, also known as the Operation Safe Streets Bureau, is committed to investigating and prosecuting all gang related cases committed in the Antelope Valley. We will work with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in securing gang enhancements against any case involving our target gang in Lancaster. The enhancement will subject the gang member to additional imprisonment in the state prison for a period of up to ten years pursuant to the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act of 1988.”
Additionally, Mayor Parris is providing up to $10,000 of his personal finances as a reward fund for citizens who provide information which leads to the arrest and conviction of a member of a Bloods gang. The use of these funds will be at the discretion of Lancaster Sheriff’s Captain Bob Jonsen, who will determine the effectiveness of an award incentive on a case-by-case basis.
“Everyone deserves to live in a peaceful and crime-free community,” said Lancaster Sheriff’s Station Captain Bob Jonsen. “When a group of individuals choose to band together, form a gang, and willfully prey on others, they will undoubtedly draw the attention of law enforcement, and that is exactly what our target gang has done. Unfortunately for them, they now have our undivided attention. We know who they are; where they live; what cars they drive; and who they associate with. They will feel our presence in their lives from this day forward. We will arrest them if they commit a crime. We will charge them with gang enhancements, and we will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. They can decide today what their future brings, but I can assure the Lancaster community that this gang’s days of terrorizing this community are coming to an end.”
By increasing their arsenal of crime-stopping assets, the City and local law enforcement expect to see a measurable decrease in the recent upsurge of crime, as well as a notable increase in arrests and convictions.
“Make no mistake about it, these gang members will be caught,” said Mayor Parris. “Their only options are to be arrested or to leave. In either case, they better start packing for a one-way trip out of our city.”