(Excerpt from By CINDY HORSWELL,
Aug. 15, 2010, 11:16PM)
....Bryan [near the Texas A&M campus] is the first Houston-area community to use a civil injunction to force identified gang members to abide by strict rules within a 3-square-mile "gang safety zone." To create the zone, law enforcement authorities had to prove to a judge that the specified area had rampant gang-related crime and the named individuals were participants.
The injunction, which can last up to 10 years, was implemented after a gang-related killing on Mother's Day.
Those enjoined are not only barred from committing crimes but also from associating with each other, going out in public after 9 p.m. or possessing a cell phone in a car. Then there are prohibitions against predictable gang activity: wearing gang clothing, making gang signs or possessing aerosol paint cans.
Violators can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
The restrictions, which critics have said infringe on constitutional rights, are carefully crafted to cramp the style of "brazen bands of thugs" who like to intimidate through sheer numbers, authorities said.
"The threat of curfew, losing your cell phone and no longer being able to drive through town wearing your colors and flashing your gang signs takes away the coolness factor," said Kinley Hegglund, a city attorney in Wichita Falls who helped draft an anti-gang injunction there in 2007....
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