Law planned to kick gangs to the curb

(WMC-TV) - The Memphis City Council passed an agenda of a dozen state laws they want passed to help the Bluff City.

At the top of that list is a nuisance law to curb gang activity. With this nuisance law, the justice system would have the teeth to kick gangs to the curb before they take over a community.

"Once they get into a community, it's hard to get them out," said Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins.

Areas where gangs set up shop and run illegal operations in the middle of a neighborhood are referred to as "gang zones".

"We know that there are gang members and known gangs to congregate in certain parts of our community," said Collins.

Councilman Harold Collins, who also works for the district attorney's office, supports the city's newly proposed "Nuisance Act for Gang Activity".

"It means law enforcement has another tool to use to move gang activity and those associated with gangs out of our neighborhoods," said Collins.

The law, modeled after an ordinance in gang-ridden Los Angeles, would do five things:

  • Redefine "gang", which is now limited to the definition of a "pattern" of criminal activity
  • Allow nuisance actions to be filed against the gang itself
  • Add better protections for confidential informants
  • Allow "gang injunctions," which are restraining orders to prohibit certain gang activities
  • And to make the violation of a gang injunction a Class C misdemeanor

"We know the consequences when children engage in this activity. Our goal is to be proactive," said Collins.

The city wants to take the proposal to Nashville when the session begins in January.

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