Redding Police Chief Says Gang Crimes Are Surging
Dylan Darling (Redding News)
June 15, 2010
As a police sergeant in the early 1990s, Peter Hansen saw a surge in gang violence in Redding that peaked with a 1994 retaliation murder on Hilltop Drive.
Now as chief of the Redding Police Department, Hansen said there appears to be another spike in gang-related crime in the city.
There have been three apparently gang-related shootings in less than a week and a half.
“This is obviously a re-emergence of a gang problem,” he said Tuesday.
In an effort to quell the violence, he said Redding police are:
• Thoroughly investigating the individual crimes and seeking to arrest those involved.
• Making a strong show of force in city parks and other places where gang members tend to gather.
• Working with informants to find leads on planned crimes.
Hansen said there also will be 10 days worth of increased patrols in town, with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Corrections helping with the effort.
With about 90,000 residents, Redding is small compared with the state’s metropolitan centers, its location on Interstate 5 makes it important for gangs looking to traffic drugs north to Oregon, said Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko.
“This is a pivotal area for turf,” he said.
In the early 1990s, Hansen said, the violence involved Southeast Asians in street gangs from Sacramento. Now, he said, it’s sects of the Nortenos and the Surenos, a pair of traditionally Hispanic gangs from the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. Their names mean northerners and southerners in Spanish.
Both gangs have been recruiting in Redding, Hansen said, and race is not a requirement.
“They are not Hispanic gangs anymore,” Hansen said.
So far three of the five men sought in the three shootings are from Redding. Hansen said police were familiar with people on both sides of the crimes.
Most of those involved in the recent violence have been young, either teenagers or in their early 20s. Hansen said gangs usually target younger people when recruiting.
Police have described many of them as “documented gang members,” which means they’ve met a number of criteria used by law enforcement to determine their affiliation with gangs. These range from having gang-related tattoos to being caught spraying graffiti to associating with known gang members.
Hansen said police are hopeful they’ll stop the gang attacks before any more people are hurt.
“These people are violent,” he said.