Wednesday, January 27, 2021     Volume: 21, Issue: 47

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on November 23rd, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 39

Lompoc sees rise in gang, gun violence

By Malea Martin

The city of Lompoc saw a substantial increase in gun and gang violence over the past month and a half, and community members are calling on elected officials to address it.

According to a Nov. 18 Lompoc Police Department statement, more than 10 individuals have been arrested since mid-October with connections to gang activity. Many of the arrestees were minors, and the police located guns in nearly all of the incidents. 

“Aside from the above arrest cases, the Lompoc Police Department has investigated at least 10 confirmed shootings within the city and confiscated 15 firearms during this short period [of] time,” the statement added.

Multiple community members spoke out about the crime increase during public comment at a Nov. 17 Lompoc City Council meeting

Sandra Jameson, a community member who said she was involved with the passing of Lompoc’s gang injunctions in the mid-2000s, spoke in support of such measures during her public comment.

“We need a gang injunction passed; we need the gangs to stop,” Jameson said. 

Lompoc City Councilmember Jim Mosby told the Sun that gang injunctions—which allow for gang members to be arrested, fined, and jailed if caught associating with other known gang members or participating in gang activity in certain areas—come with a lot of “complexities.” 

“You can do all the injunctions you want, but in some cases you ruin people’s lives so that they can’t make a correction,” Mosby said.

When such injunctions were set in stone by the county Superior Court in 2006, the Sun reported that while proponents said these measures help police control gang violence, “opponents had expressed concern that gang members could get arrested for innocent daily activities.”

Mosby said, from his perspective, the police are doing a good job cracking down on the violence. However, he would like to see harsher punishments for minors involved in gang crimes. 

“I think they need to understand punishment as a deterrent,” he said. 

But, Mosby added, the city should also take a preventative approach by “getting to the youth before they get into this level.”

“This is kind of what I’ve been arguing about: Really a lot of this is because of lack of opportunity in this town,” Mosby said.

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