News Release


DATE: March 22, 2005

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108



SAN DIEGO - At the request Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to begin to assemble an East County Gang Task Force in conjunction with the Sheriff' Department, the Probation Department and District Attorney's Office.

"Gang recruitment, intimidation, crime and violence have escalated well beyond the available resources in East County," said Supervisor Jacob, citing the need to beef up resources available to investigate and prosecute gang-related crime in the area.

"Without question, more enforcement and prosecution staffing is needed to be able to adequately meet the growing challenge of fighting gang activity," Jacob said.

According to law enforcement officials, there were 13 gang-related homicides in East County communities in 2004. Spring Valley and Lemon Grove experienced a dramatic up tick in assaults and robberies, crime statistics show.

The East County branch of District Attorney's Office says it has been stretched thin by gang-related caseloads. East County school districts have reported a surge in gang activity on school campuses.

The Board's action begins the process of identifying funding for an East County Gang Task Force as well as staffing needs for the proposed entity. A report is due back to the Board for review later this spring.

Jacob said she hopes the East County Gang Task Force can be modeled after a similar effort in North County, which has experienced some success in rooting out gang crime.

Jacob is a member of an community-based gang task force, which includes the Grossmont Union High School District, other East County school districts, the Sheriff's Department, the Probation Department, the District Attorney's Office and the City of El Cajon. The group meets regularly to devise ways keep gang activity off school campuses.