McKenna: Restraining Orders Against Gangs

Jan 4, 2011

A victim of domestic violence can seek a restraining order against an abusive spouse.  But how about allowing a city to get a restraining order against a street gang?

A new proposal from Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna would give cities the right to seek court orders barring gang members from certain areas.  The Attorney General told reporters on a conference call that the anti-gang measure would help combat a growing problem.

“We are facing a record level of gang activity and gang violence in this state. In Yakima, the homicide rate has doubled, aggravated assaults are up dramatically.  In some parts of the state, people do not feel safe coming out of their homes at night because the level of gang violence is so high,” McKenna says.

McKenna is also asking the legislature to increase sentences for gang members and allow property to be boarded up if it’s been plagued by gang activity.  Civil libertarians have raised concerns that the proposals could violate due process rights.  But McKenna points out similar measures have been upheld by courts in other states.