skip navigation


Abstract Database

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

To download this abstract, check the box next to the NCJ number then click the "Back To Search Results" link. Then, click the "Download" button on the Search Results page. Also see the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 197138 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Policing by Injunction: Problem-Oriented Dimensions of Civil Gang Abatement in the State of California
Author(s): Edward L. Allan
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 419
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
State University of New York at Albany
Albany, NY 12222
Grant Number: 2000-IJ-CX-0018
Sale Source: State University of New York at Albany
School of Criminal Justice
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
United States of America
Document: PDF
Dataset: DATASET 1
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Dissertation/Thesis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This federally funded study explored the scope of flexibility, community involvement, and problem solving in the acquisition stage of the civil injunction process in the State of California, an effort by prosecutors to acquire a preliminary injunction against a gang to abate persistent public nuisance activity in neighborhoods.
Abstract: Advocated by the problem-oriented perspective which includes innovative strategies of problem-oriented policing, civil gang abatement is a law enforcement proactive anti-gang strategy combining the law of public nuisance and the civil remedy of the preventive injunction therefore aiding to reduce the destructive influence of gangs on neighborhoods. Funded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, this study explored the nature of the civil gang abatement trends in the State of California to determine whether the use of injunctions to abate gang activity was a problem-oriented intervention addressing the causes of a pervasive public order problem. Two key dimensions of the problem-oriented perspective were analyzed: flexibility and community involvement. The concept of flexibility suggests that the provisions of requested relief and situational characteristics vary across injunction initiatives. Community involvement in the decision-making process allows for greater visibility for the procedures used to tackle problems. These were analyzed in the acquisition stage of the injunction process or the injunction initiative due to this providing the broadest spectrum of the gang injunction trend. Injunction initiatives include actions resulting in a preliminary injunction and actions where injunctive relief was denied, dismissed, or still in litigation. A categorical data analysis was conducted examining all identified gang injunction cases filed with the Superior Court of California from October 26, 1987, through June 30, 2000. Forty-two identified gang injunction initiatives were represented. Results suggest that there was sufficient evidence of variation to conclude that gang injunctions tended to be “flexible” and therefore consistent with the problem-oriented perspective. The initiatives were evenly distributed among three categories: high-drug, high-crime, and high-disorder initiatives. The strongest and most straightforward evidence of flexibility was the categorization of injunction initiatives requested by the prosecutor, which displayed a high level of variation. Results regarding community involvement suggest that the assumption that community organizations can serve as a proxy for the community was incorrect, at least in the highly disorganized neighborhoods commonly targeted by gang injunctions. The study also examined whether gang injunction initiatives followed problem-solving methodology consisting of four steps: problem identification, analysis, response, and assessment. The evidence suggested that problem-solving methodology was widely used in civil gang abatement initiatives. There was evidence of all four steps indicating that gang injunctions were not simply quick reactions to gang activities. In conclusion the majority of gang injunction initiatives were a flexible response to local gang activity. In regards to policy implications, it is hoped that this study will assist local policymakers and participating community entities in deciding whether the strategy of policing by injunction is an appropriate response to gang problems in their community. Future research should include: the use of injunctions by community prosecutors for other persistent public order problems, such as prostitution and research into other innovative measures employed by prosecutors under the rubric of both community prosecution and traditional case-oriented prosecution. Tables, references, and appendices A-E
Main Term(s): Gang Prevention
Index Term(s): California; Community involvement; Community policing; Community relations; Gangs; NIJ grant-related documents; Policing innovation; Problem-Oriented Policing; Prosecution; Prosecutorial discretion
Note: Submitted to the University at Albany, State University of New York in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.