Gang crimes hit 3-year high in city

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MORE incidents of gang-related violence were reported to the police from January to March this year compared to the same period in the last two years.

From January to March, 12 attacks were blamed on either the Crips or Bloods gangs.

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In 2009, there were only two such cases.

In 2008, the Cebu City Police Office recorded six incidents involving the two rival gangs.

The rise in gang-related incidents recently persuaded Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Patrocinio Comendador to reactivate the Anti-Street Hoodlum Team (A-shot) that he first organized in 2008.

He said the A-shot contributed to the drop in gang-related crimes in 2009.

Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal recently urged a review of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, which exempts minors from criminal liability. He made the call after the murder this month of a 14-year-old altar boy, by young robbers who wanted to get his phone.

System’s failure

The A-shot, now headed by Senior Insp. Benifacio Garciano, resumed operations against gang members last week.

The primary task of the A-shot is to run after those wanted for a crime or those who have just committed a crime.

Comendador said his office heard reports the vigilantes have taken an interest in the animosity between the two gangs “because of the failure of the criminal justice system.”

Comendador, who has been vocal about his stand against summary executions, said he wants to preempt any moves of the so-called vigilantes to prevent further killings.

He appealed to the gang members to take the report seriously, while the police force is doing its best to solve the problem.

Retaliation from the other gang is also expected to happen, Comendador said, judging from the previous incidents.

Last Tuesday, Comendador asked Garciano to contact the suspected gunman in the latest gang-related killing that happened along J. Luna St., Mabolo to give himself up and help in the investigation.

This way, the police might be able to protect him from any attack.

Gang crimes hit 3 year high city

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