Council OKs Expansion of Anti-Gang Effort

In an effort to get tough on what Ventura Police Chief Richard Thomas calls a "brewing" gang problem, the Ventura City Council this week approved a three-point strategy for cracking down on street violence.

The main features call for a graffiti-removal unit that would paint over any graffiti within 24 hours, expansion of an anti-gang patrol unit from four to 12 officers and use of community resources to keep problem neighborhoods better maintained.

Thomas said the program would be financed from surplus funds created by several vacant positions in the department.

The actions came after what was believed to be the gang-related shooting of a 14-year-old Ventura High School student, as well as a fatal stabbing in the city's Ventura Avenue neighborhood.

Thomas said that area would receive extra patrols under the program.

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