CMPD Considers Renewing Gang Injunction In Hidden Valley
Last summer, a judge issued an injunction against the Hidden Valley Kings in north Charlotte.
That made Mecklenburg the first county in the state to implement a new law that allows judges to order suspected gang members not to associate with each other in public, possess a gun or be near anyone carrying drugs or firearms.
Charlotte Mecklenburg police say the injunction has reduced crime in Hidden Valley and it will soon expire. But, they're not sure if they're going to ask for an extension.
Since the injunction was put in place, at least a third of the two dozen alleged members of the Hidden Valley Kings have been arrested and charged with a low-level misdemeanor for violating the injunction.
Sheena Gatehouse is supervisor of the misdemeanor prosecution unit at the district attorney's office.
"We're trying to prohibit these people involved in this gang who tend to have a propensity to commit other crimes from spending time together, hanging out together and being together where crimes are committed," Gatehouse says. "So it could have an impact on that particular community."
According to CMPD, the civil injunction is having an impact. Captain Robert Dance told WCNC-TV that since last August, robberies in Hidden Valley are down 15 percent, assaults with deadly weapons are down 28 percent and gunshot cases are down 43 percent.
Edward Marsh says he can tell the difference. He's the founder of the Charlotte Chronicle and works on economic development and community projects in Hidden Valley.
"It has had a big impact on that community," Marsh says. "They got a couple of arrests off of it. But at one point in time, we all know what Hidden Valley used to be like. That community has really banded together and has done things positive. And that injunction was just icing on the cake."
The injunction expires in mid-August. The city will then have to go before a judge to request a renewal.
Marsh says that during the last meeting of the Hidden Valley Community Association, police officers told community members that they would try to get the injunction renewed.
But Captain Dance told WCNC-TV that it may be hard to prove to a judge that the injunction is the reason why crime is down. But he says, if the city does ask for another year's extension, CMPD will probably add a few more names to the list.