Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sheriff's Department gives tips on gangs in Altadena

Reprinted with the permission of the Pasadena Star News


Sheriff's department gives tips on gangs in Altadena
By Robert S. Hong, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 03/26/2008 10:41:26 PM PDT

Special Section
Gangs: From Prisons to Back Yards Frank Girardot's Crime Scene blog

ALTADENA - Inside a packed Altadena Community Center, local sheriff's personnel gave residents an eye-opening crash course on Altadena's gangs, featuring a slide-show presentation that showed the blacked-out images of reputed area gang members.

Sheriff's Department Detective Steve Long of the Altadena Station presented slides Wednesday night showing gang members flashing hand signs and wearing gang-specific colors, and he gave residents a primer on the methods deputies use to spot gangsters.

Long showed residents what to look for if they see someone in their neighborhood they suspect might belong to a particular gang. Parents also can use the tools to determine if their children are involved or at risk of joining a gang, Long said.

He advised parents to check their children's backpacks, notebooks and textbooks for signs of gang graffiti, and he showed them what to look for. He also reviewed a list of at least 11 street gangs currently operating in and around Altadena.

"It was a fantastic, fast-paced presentation," concluded Altadena resident Colleen Bissner. "It was interesting learning how to translate all of the gang language and knowing which ones wear which colors."

Residents remain law enforcement's first line of defense in fighting street gangs, officials told the audience.

"You are the people that will help us stop these crimes," said Sgt. Al Pelaez.

Bissner and several other residents said much of the presentation provided information they never knew about local gangs. Community activist and anti-gang worker Tim Rhambo said that, while he enjoyed the presentation, he had hoped for more input from local teens and young adults.

"It's good that it was an Altadena-focused event and everybody here lives in the community," said Rambo. "I wish there had been some young people to help give the presentation."

robert.hong@sgvn.com
(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4586

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