New legislation introduced by King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn will assist law enforcement in combating criminal street activities in areas heavily affected by gang activity.
The King County Sheriff’s Office reported a 165 percent increase in gang-related crime since 2005. Last year, there were 802 gang-related incidents in King County. The first ordinance of the legislation will allow the King County Council to identify anti-gang emphasis areas, where the numbers of gang-related arrests have been high. A second ordinance is aimed at protecting those trying to get out or stay out of a criminal street gang. It also extends protection to those not enrolled in public or alternative schools, a group that is left vulnerable to gang intimidation under current state law. The legislation would make it unlawful for a person to knowingly threaten another person with bodily injury because that individual refuses to join, is trying to leave, or has left a gang, regardless of enrollment in school. (end)