Criminal Prosecution - Gang

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Criminal Prosecution - Gang

The County of Monterey has over 3,000 persons who associate with criminal street gangs. The overwhelming majority of gang related incidents that we see in the County of Monterey has to do with the rivalry between Northern gangs and Southern gangs.

The County of Monterey documents approximately over 500 gang-related incidents a year. These incidents may involve gang related crimes like homicides, drive-by shootings or robberies, or they may involve contacts with gang members or their associates and a report was warranted documenting the gang affiliation.

The Monterey County Joint Gang Task Force

The Salinas Police Department the Monterey County Sheriffs Office the Probation Department and the District Attorney’s Office have all joined together to create a Gang Task Force that is flexible enough to work anywhere in the County. Members of the Task Force are available to publicly speak at community meetings, schools, and businesses or to other law enforcement agencies when requested. The intent of the Gang Task Force is to work with the community to help suppress gang involvement and related crime. Visit the Gang Task Force web site for more information on this effort.

What is a gang?

The Gang Task Force uses the California Penal Code definition for a criminal street gang, which is:

  • Any ongoing group of three or more persons
  • Whether formal or informal Who’s members commit felony crimes
  • They have a common sign or symbol
  • And the members individually or collectively engage in a pattern of criminal activity.

What is a gang member?

The Gang Task Force uses the California Penal Code definition for a criminal street gang member, which is:

  • Any person who actively participates in a criminal street gang.
  • With knowledge the gang commits crimes
  • They do something to further, promote or assist the gang in felony conduct.

Signs of Gang Involvement

  • Drug use Decline in grades and truancy
  • Change of friends
  • Keeping late hours
  • Possession of money, jewelry or clothing out of their means
  • A defiant attitude at home or in school Friends call him/her by unusual nicknames or monikers
  • Wearing of gang related tattoo’s
  • Possessing photographs of gang members
  • Possessing weapons
  • Other people identify him/her as a gang member

Strategies for Parents:

  • Know whom your children are associating with.
  • Look at your children’s schoolbooks or personal items and look for some of the same writings or symbols that are in this pamphlet.
  • Take away items that you feel are gang related.
  • Become more involved in your child’s activities:
  • Seek out help from law enforcement or other community organizations.

Something to consider:

Wearing a specific color or clothing item that gang members associate with DOES NOT make you a gang member. However it is important for parents to know that gang violence is often predicated on perception only.

In other words, if a gang member sees someone wearing the color of their rival gang, they may assume that person is involved in gangs and may commit an act of violence on that person.


If you are dealing with a gang problem and are looking for help, you have the ability to call the police and leave information anonymously.

  • Monterey County Joint Gang Task Force Anonymous Crime Tip Line is: (831) 758-7400
  • Monterey County Gang Task Force Commander: (831) 758-7041
  • Monterey County Gang Task Force Sergeants: (831) 758-7042

Community Support Groups

  • Silver Star Program: (831) 444-3500
  • Second Chance: (831) 758-2501
  • Barrios Unidos: (831) 751-9054
  • Gang Prevention & Intervention Program: (831) 796-1641