Minnesota’s Violent Crime Coordinating Council (VCCC) has adopted a new set of gang criteria with the intention of keeping the public safe by reducing violent crimes across the state.
The VCCC, which is comprised of citizens and local law enforcement officials, has implemented a new nine-point set of gang criteria which outlines the ways law enforcement officials identify and track gang members across the state.
“We had a strong consensus among community members and other stakeholders during the development of the criteria,” said Ken Reed, St. Paul Police Department Commander and chair of the VCCC. “The outcome was accurate, objective criteria to help law enforcement quickly identify violent criminals.”
One of the changes under the new criteria is the definition of a “confirmed gang member.” Under the criteria, only gang members who have been convicted of a violent crime as defined by state law will be considered a confirmed gang member. Stacy Kaye, an attorney at Appelman Law believes the criteria is a step in the right direction, but there is still work to be done.
“The definition of confirmed gang member seems narrow to me, because many crimes go unreported and/or unprosecuted, especially in cases where the victims would have reason to fear retaliation,” said Kaye. “Although I’d imagine it is helpful to have a standard, clear definition.
Law enforcement agencies will begin training officers on the new criteria, and they’ll also work to prevent gang activity in its early stages by informing the parents of juveniles who are suspected of gang activity. Kaye agrees that preventing gang activity in teens is a good tactic.
“Identifying juveniles who are at risk of gang involvement before they get entrenched in the lifestyle is the best way to go.”
Related sources: Northland NewsCenter