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Local : Gang Crime in Valley Nearly Triples

From Times staff and wire service reports

Gang-related crime in the San Fernando Valley nearly tripled during the first six months of the year, the Los Angeles Police Department said today.

Gang crime, including murders, assaults, robberies, rape and other crimes, rose from 201 reports in the first six months of 1988 to 578 reports in the first half of this year, police said.

Detective Cliff Ruff, head of a Valley gang task force, said the 188% increase, primarily led by major jumps in felony assaults and robberies, was believed to be caused by increased gang membership and drug activity. He estimated that there are 7,500 gang members in the Valley. Last year, the department had documented about 6,000 members.

The crime comparison between the first six months of each year showed that homicides rose from 11 in 1988 to 15 this year, felony assaults rose from 116 to 350 and robberies went from 27 to 145, Ruff said. The department’s statistical report also showed that rapes involving gang members rose from one to four during the period, arson went from one to two, battery on a police officer rose from four to 11 and cases of witness intimidation rose from two to five.

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Only attempted murders dropped during the comparison period, from 37 in 1988 to 35 this year, Ruff said.


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