Monday, October 23, 2017

Gang database

I have to keep an eye out for follow-up on the Portland police department: "Portland police next month will end their more than 20-year-old practice of designating people as gang members or gang associates in response to strong community concerns about the labels that have disproportionately affected minorities."
The Police Bureau recognizes that the gang designations have led to "unintended consequences" and served as lifelong barriers for those who have shunned the gang lifestyle and tried to get jobs, said Acting Tactical Operations Capt. Andy Shearer.

It wasn't actually that easy to get into that exclusive list:

The Oregonian/OregonLive review of the controversial gang affiliation database showed that police labeled someone a "criminal gang affiliate" more than 100 times each year, without a conviction, without an arrest. Police were able to add someone to the list if the person self-identified as a member of a gang, participated in a gang initiation ritual, committed a gang-related crime or displayed two or more observable signs of gang membership.

The article pats them on the back repeatedly:

Choo Fair, who works as a mentor for Multnomah County probation and parole and is a former Bloods gang member, praised the move.

"It's a beautiful thing. They can no longer label anybody," he said.

He expects it also will affect county parole and probation officers, who sometimes find an offender in violation of their probation because they continued to hang out with known gang members.

Note to self: check crime stats and status of the database next October.

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