La Mesa: A Bedroom Community For Gangland

LA MESA -- The San Diego Association of Governments issued a report this week on the impact of gangs in San Diego County.
For the most part, the report was a macro analysis, reporting 7,500 "documented" gang members in the county with 158 different gangs of all stripes and descriptions, including new Somali gangs as well as the Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations that are so well established SANDAG has given them their own acronym -- MDTOs.
What the report didn't tell you was the unique role small cities like La Mesa play in San Diego gang culture. Based on police intelligence gleaned from arrests and investigations, officials believe the Jewel of the Hills is a bedroom community for San Diego Gang Land.

La Mesa Police Chief Ed Aceves revealed that there are 133 documented gang members who live in La Mesa and are known to police and monitored closely by his officers and members of the East County Regional Gang Task Force. One of Aceves' officers serves on that task force. But Aceves said police intelligence shows that these gang members seldom engage in their gang activity within La Mesa.

"The good thing is none of the gangs they are related to claim turf within the City of La Mesa,'' Aceves said. "We watch them and sometimes when crimes occur here, our officers will make contact to check on them, but for the most part their gang activities are elsewhere.''

But the monitoring of gang activity -- including the gathering of evidence required to become a "documented" gang member -- has become a subculture within local police agencies. Officers of the smaller police forces collaborate  with the San Diego City Police and San Diego Sheriff's Department as well as federal agencies to document the names and "turf'' each of the gangs claim and to, wherever possible, chart members' identities. Gang membership is a fluid business with young people joining for short times and others staying for years.

Managing the gang problem has also strayed across jurisdictions in other ways. In attempts to distance some gang members from their "turf,'' probation requirements will sometimes force a San Diego gang member to live outside that city. Recently, other police sources say, these relocation efforts have resulted in clusters of gang members living in places like La Mesa and El Cajon while their gang business and turf remains back in a City of San Diego, for example. A major county-wide warrant sweep of gang members last year included significant arrests and confiscation of weapons and drugs in La Mesa, though major gang crimes have not been reported within the jurisdiction.

"This is exactly the situation we have here," Aceves said. "They are pushed to live outside their turf. Many of them are on probation so we can watch them. We know who they are.''

The full SANDAG Gang Involvement Report Among San Diego County Arrestees can be found by CLICKING HERE.

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Tags: Crime, Ed Aceves, La Mesa Today, SANDAG, San Diego gangs


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Comment by Batman on December 17, 2013 at 3:41pm

The City of Los Angeles has 8,000 police officers, and over 50,000 registered street gang members. The City of La Mesa has 68 police officers, and already 133 known criminal gang members. Are you sure you want to give up your right to keep and bear arms?

Comment by Michael Higdon on December 8, 2013 at 8:38am

Amen, David!

Comment by David Stanley on December 7, 2013 at 5:05pm

Miss Moore, I dont know you or really know what you are talking about? What I said is a rehash of talks I gave over and over to community meetings regarding gang related activities. There are always a few in any community that actually see the problem and voice their concerns. Those few, however, are ALWAYS overridden by the vast majority who scream, "Racist", "Homophobe" and other like epithets. There is the very root of the problem, the deniers, those who sell their souls for political correctness and their desire to blend in with the herd. Most police officers work hard to combat these issues but are stopped at almost every turn by weak spined administrators, lawyers, City Officials and ACLU-types. Those who appeal for common sense and real actions are always castigated and mocked. Compare and contrast people like Limbaugh and Hannity with Sharpton, Jackson, Bashir. The message of truth is always obsfucated by the hate rhetoric of the deniers, aiders and abetters. Only one example: The Florida shooting. A man contacts a person in a known burglary prone area. He is attacked by that person and beating. He attempts to defend himself and the person is shot. Every hate monger and race baiter in the nation calls for blacks to riot, every "news" outlet damns the man. Florida prosecutors admit lying and mishandling evidence and testimony. The man is acquitted and people like Jackson and Sharpton all but call for riots. Ignorant and uneducated people stupidly comply. The press continues to damn the man. Witness his mental collapse following the trials. This is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Attacking You? I dont even know you. I attack and accuse every person that I have named who continues to keep their head firmly buried in the sand and moans about the issue but attacks anyone who attempts to do ANYTHING about it, from the President all the way down to the guy, or coward who walks the streets and continues to vote to keep the cowards in office!

Comment by Lisa Moore on December 7, 2013 at 2:08pm

David how do you really feel! All your upper case words tell me exactly how you feel!   I trust you weren't personally attacking me, but were talking to those in La Mesa and the world who have allowed this to happen. 

Comment by Lisa Moore on December 7, 2013 at 10:35am

That is an eye opening article.  Even though, according to the piece, the gang members are living in La Mesa, there is no reports (maybe) of gang activity within the city of La Mesa.  That is something that can change quickly!  Frightening thought!!

Comment by David Stanley on December 7, 2013 at 9:39am

This admission by the La Mesa Police is ancient. "Gangs", groups of toughs, thugs, bullies and criminals, have existed since they discovered they could dominate those who, out of cowardice, meekness, apathy or political correctness, feared and therefore refused to acknowledge the cancerous growth. Voices have constantly cried, from the wilderness it would seem, that to ignore this was to allow it. To placate it was to assist in its spread. Whatever they called themselves through the centuries, "Moderates", "Progressives", "Peace Keepers", you name it, THEY have caused and allowed this scourge. Aided and promoted by the Race Baiters and politicians in society, the hatred and violence, coupled criminal activities have always increased. Social "Do-gooders" perpetuate these activities through their constant, "There, there" attitudes and social pressures. Citizens, to fearful of being labelled, "Racists", Homophobes", "Hate Mongers", Anti-this or Anti-that, cower and turn blind eyes. "Not my problem". Well, DUMMY, it is your problem. It has always been your problem and you have allowed to become the Nation's problem, the World's problem. YOU have allowed this to  happen because of your, "Its not MY child that is the problem" attitude. YOU have allowed to happen because of your stupidity to allow your law enforcement to be hamstrung by those "Progressive", "Social Architects", those freaks in the government at all levels who always counsel, "There, there. Go back to sleep. We can take care of this. Just vote for me". No borders. no social conscience, no morals, no accountability, no responsibility, no parameters. "If you dig, do it". "If it feels good, do it".

You certainly didnt want "THIS" but YOU certainly allowed to all to happen. From the office of the President to the office of the Mayor, YOU have skipped along singing, "La, la, la" totally ignoring the death, the destruction, the narcotics, the perversion of education and of society. Now, you look about you at the destruction YOU have not only allowed but have perpetuated through your own ignorance and stupidity. You read pieces like this and cluck your tongues they quickly duck back beneath the covers. The gangs and their activities are YOU. YOU CAUSED IT. YOU ALLOWED IT. YOU PROTECT IT. YOU PERPETUATE IT!

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