Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a gang? California Penal Code 186.22(f) defines a “criminal street gang” to mean any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal having as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more criminal having a common name or common identifying sign or symbol, and whose members individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity.

Q: What is a gang?
California Penal Code 186.22 (f) defines a “criminal street gang” to mean any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more [specified] criminal acts, having a common name or common identifying sign or symbol, and whose members individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity. For text of the entire code, including criminal acts, please click here  (need hyperlink to code text)
Additional definitions provided by County of San Benito Sheriff Department

GANG OFFENSE – is the commission of, attempted commission of, or conspiracy to commit any public offense for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang, with the specific intent to promote, further, or assist in any criminal conduct by gang members.  A Gang Offense is by definition a chargeable offense under California Penal Code Section 186.22 et al.
GANG MEMBER – is anyone who actively participates in a criminal street gang, has knowledge that its members engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity and willfully promotes, furthers, or assists in any criminal conduct by members of the gang. California Penal Code Section 186.22
GANG EVENT – is any event or condition, although not amounting to a chargeable Gang Offense, that creates an environment of fear, intimidation, or creates a public hazard, and where a Gang Member is involved as an offender or as a victim.
GANG RELATED – is any Gang Event.  Synonymous with GANG EVENT

Q: What other factors indicate gang involvement?
Location where individuals gather, clothing and gang names/nick names are a few factors to consider.

 

Q: How many gang members are there in San Benito County?

 

Q: What is the ethnic origin of the gangs?
Although some gangs limit participation to their own native ethnic grouping, in fact there is no major ethnic group within the county that is not represented in one of the major criminal street gangs. It should not be assumed that any ethnic group is more predisposed to membership in a criminal gang.

 

Q: Where are gangs found?
Gang activity is seen to some degree throughout all of San Benito County with more dense concentrations in a few specific areas.

 

Q: How many gangs are there in my city/unincorporated area?
NOTE: Gang collection data is limited; these numbers are in no way reflective of the entire gang population of San Benito County, nor should they be used for any statistical or comparative purposes.

Q: How do I report graffiti?

Graffiti is used by gang members to identify turf, communicate threats, and show allegiance.  As s result, it is important to call the Graffiti Abatement if graffiti is spotted:

For the City of Hollister and San Benito County, contact the Hollister Graffiti Hotline (831) 638-4175 or 800-78-CRIME (800-782-7463) or email www.WeTip.com (hyperlink to WeTip information)

 

Q: Why do kids join gangs?

Reasons vary, but often young people who join gangs feel peer pressure, want protection, know gang members, want excitement, seek money, feel insecure, have an unhappy home life, grew up with violence, feel hopeless, or want a replacement for the family.

 

Q: Does San Benito County have a gang unit?

Q: What if I am in a gang and want to get out?

Q: Where can I get more information or report gang activity in San Benito County?
For more information on gang prevention, intervention, and suppression resources in San Benito County visit the Information & Resources (hyperlink to Information & Resources page) web page.