Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL

FROM: ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER

DATE: JULY 15, 2003

SUBJECT: ANTI-GANG ORDINANCE

RECOMMENDATION

Introduce Ordinance No. ___ of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes relating to prohibiting gang members from loitering with the intent to intimidate neighborhoods and conceal illegal activity and amending the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code.

BACKGROUND

In July 1999, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted an anti-gang loitering ordinance (see attached). While this ordinance is enforceable in unincorporated County areas, it is not enforceable in incorporated cities unless the city has adopted a similar ordinance. On January 9, 2003, on the recommendation of Supervisor Antonovich, the County sent a letter suggesting that all incorporated cities adopt a similar ordinance (see attached letter). The Regional Law Enforcement Committee discussed this issue at its May 8, 2003 meeting and recommended that each of the three cities adopt ordinances modeled after the County’s ordinance.

DISCUSSION

Although the City of Rancho Palos Verdes does not have an "anti-gang" ordinance, it does have an ordinance relating to loitering of minors (RPVMC Chapter 9.12 – Curfew). This ordinance sets a daytime curfew (8:30 am to 1:30 pm on school days) and nighttime curfew (10:00 pm to sunrise) for persons under the age of 18. The proposed anti-gang ordinance would go further by making it a public offense for a person who is a member of a criminal street gang and those in their company to loiter in any public place at any time with the intent to publicize the gang’s dominance over the area or to conceal illegal activity. The penalty for violating this ordinance would be a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment not to exceed six months. The proposed ordinance would also make it a misdemeanor for parents or guardians who knowingly allow minors under their control to violate the ordinance. Although gang activity is fortunately not a serious problem in Rancho Palos Verdes, this ordinance would provide the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department with another tool to use to combat crime in the three city regional area, as the need arises.

FISCAL IMPACT

This ordinance would not have an impact on the City’s General fund expenditures, although it is possible that the City may see a small amount of income generated from the fines associated with the enforcement of this ordinance.

Respectfully submitted:

Carolynn Petru

Assistant City Manager

Reviewed,

Les Evans

City Manager

ORDINANCE NO.

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ADDING CHAPTER 9.14 OF TITLE 9 (PUBLIC PEACE, MORALS AND WELFARE) OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE RELATING TO LOITERING BY CRIMINAL STREET GANGS.

WHEREAS, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes has the authority to take action where the potential exists for jeopardy to the public welfare, health and safety of its citizens; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes is concerned with the potential for street gang violence, street gang activity and street gang crime in the City, and has determined that the establishment and enforcement of an ordinance prohibiting loitering is an effective and necessary means to decrease crime, violence and victimization; and,

WHEREAS, the crimes being committed by criminal street gang members include serious offenses such as murder by drive-by shootings, aggravated assault, robberies, burglaries and drug-related crimes; and,

WHEREAS, loitering in public places by members of street gangs creates a justifiable fear for the safety of persons and property in the area; and,

WHEREAS, members of criminal street gangs establish control over identifiable areas of a community by loitering in those areas and intimidating others from entering; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes finds and determines that having an enforceable ordinance targeted at loitering by members of criminal street gangs and those in company with members of criminal street gangs is critical to preserving the public health, safety and welfare of all citizens in the City.

THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The City Council has reviewed and considered the addition of a new Chapter 9.14 of Title 9 of the Municipal Code.

Section 2: The City Council finds that the amendments to Title 9 of the Municipal Code are necessary to preserve the public health, safety, and general welfare in the area.

Section 3: Chapter 9.14 (Loitering by Criminal Street Gangs) of Title 9 (Public Peace, Morals and Welfare) of the Municipal Code is hereby added to read as follows:

Chapter 9.14 LOITERING BY CRIMINAL STREET GANGS

9.14.010 Prohibited Acts.

    1. It is unlawful for any person who is a member of a "criminal street gang" as that term is defined in California Penal Code section 186.22(f) or who is in the company of or acting in concert with a member of a "criminal street gang" to loiter or idle in a "public place" as defined in this section under any of the following circumstances:
    1. With the intent to publicize a criminal street gang’s dominance over certain territory in order to intimidate non-members of the gang from entering, remaining in, or using the public place or adjacent area;
    2. With the intent to conceal ongoing commerce in illegal drugs or other unlawful activity.
    1. For purposes of this chapter, a "public place" means the public way and any other location open to the public, whether publicly or privately owned, including, but not limited to any street, sidewalk, avenue, highway, road, curb area, alley, park, playground or other public ground or public building, any common area of a school, hospital, apartment house, office building, transport facility, shop, privately owned place of business, to which the public is invited, including any place of amusement, entertainment, or eating place. Any "public place" also includes the front yard area, driveway and walkway of any private residence, business, or apartment house.

9.14.020 Powers of Law Enforcement Officers Not Limited.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed in any way to limit the power or right of a law enforcement officer to make any investigation, detention or arrest as such law enforcement officer would be permitted to make in absence of this chapter.

9.14.030 Parental Control.

Any parent(s), legal guardian(s), or other adult person(s) authorized by said parent(s) or guardian(s) to have the care and custody of a minor, who knowingly permits or by insufficient control allows a minor to violate the provisions of this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

9.14.040 Penalty.

Violation of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment not to exceed six months, or both.

9.14.050 Severability.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter or application of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are declared severable.

Section 4: The City Clerk shall certify to the adoption of this ordinance and shall cause the same to be posted in the manner prescribed by law.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED this 15th day of July 2003.

MAYOR

ATTEST:

CITY CLERK

State of California )

County of Los Angeles ) ss

City of Rancho Palos Verdes )

I, Jo Purcell, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, do hereby certify that the whole number of members of the City Council of said City is five; that the foregoing Ordinance No. passed first reading on July 15, 2003, was duly and regularly adopted by the City Council of said City at a regular meeting thereof held on August 5, 2003 and that the same was passed and adopted by the following roll call vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSENT:

ABSTAIN:

_______________________

City Clerk