Sen. Dianne Feinstein
(D-Calif) has joined four Republican senators in introducing legislation to bring federal resources to bear in the fight against street gangs.
Along with Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah, Charles Grasley of Iowa, John Cornyn of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona, Feinstein introduced on Tuesday, Jan. 25, what they named "The Gang Prevention and Effective Deterrence Act."
According to Feinstein, the measure would:
• Authorize $650 million over the next five years to support Federal, State and local law enforcement
efforts against violent gangs, including witness protection, intervention and prevention programs
for at-risk youth, and more funding for federal prosecutors and FBI agents involved in coordinated
enforcement efforts against violent gangs.
• Create new criminal gang prosecution offenses, enhance existing gang and violent crime penalties to
deter and punish illegal street gangs, propose violent crime reforms needed to effectively
prosecute gang members, and propose a limited reform of the juvenile justice system to facilitate
federal prosecution of 16 and 17-year-old gang members who commit serious acts of violence.
"Los Angeles alone has 45,689 gang members, according to local law enforcement officials," Feinstein reported. "And nationally, the latest figures from the Department of Justice, there were about 731,500 gang
members and 21,500 gangs in 2002. Additionally, the FBI report on national crime statistics found
that youth-gang homicides had jumped to more than 1,100 in 2002, up from 692 in 1999.
“The bottom line is that gangs represent a serious national threat, and the problem calls for a
serious national response,” Feinstein said.