The city of Wichita Falls filed a petition to the 30th District Court last week as part of the gang injunction program that was started in 2006.
The new injunction was filed to add 18 alleged gang members to the list. The new members added to the list may not have been old enough or committed gang-related crimes to be on the original injunction.
The injunction was designed to help reduce gang-related crimes in Wichita Falls.
“The first injunction was filed in August of 2006 and the reason it was filed is because in the summer of 2005 there was, I believe, 56 shootings or gang activity that summer alone,” said Criminal District Attorney Maureen Shelton.
Since 2006, the police department has noticed a difference in gang-related crimes.
“We have seen a significant decrease. Not only in the safety zones that we’ve placed them but throughout the entire city. It fluctuates year-to-year on how much it has dropped but it is pretty significant 35 plus percent in crime reduction that was involved in gangs,” said Chief of Police Manuel Borrego.
Due to the restrictions, some feel it is violating their constitutional rights. But Borrego says that is not the case.
“As long as your not involved with criminal activity, you can continue to live your life without the police being involved with you, but if you are on the injunction and you violate the law and continue your criminal episodes then we are going to be involved with you,” Borrego said.
To be put on the list, the police department has a process they go through.
“We have to identify you as a gang member, one way or another, whether you’ve admitted it, whether we’ve seen you associates, there’s a lot of ways we can identify you as a gang member,” Borrego said.
Once you have been added to the list, it is a lengthy process to get yourself off.
“The gang injunctions last 10 years typically and so if you are on it for 10 years then we would have to file another gang injunction to extend,” said Criminal District Attorney Shelton.
The gang injunction has been a joint effort with the city and county. Now almost 100 gang members have injunctions.