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Curfew sweep nets dozens of teens across O.C.

November 19, 2010|By MARK EADES

correa

Two boys, cousins, one age 14 and the other 12, were seen hanging around on a street in Orange. The only problem? It was after midnight.

At 1 a.m. Friday in Stanton a 17-year-old girl was crying to a Sheriff's deputy that she didn't want her parents to find out she'd been at a party. They didn't know where she was. She had not told them she was going to a party.

Those three juveniles were among dozens caught in what was billed as one of the largest curfew sweeps aimed at preventing gang problems before they happen in Orange County. Curfews in Orange County begin at 10:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m., depending on the city, and last until 5:00 a.m. the following day.

More than 300 officers and Sheriff's deputies from all over Orange County – many of whom volunteered their time – patrolled the streets of nearly every city to search for kids out too late.

 

They worked as part of the Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (GRIP) run by the Orange County District Attorney's office.

"GRIP works to try and prevent fourth through eighth graders from becoming gang members," said Frank Acosta, a deputy district attorney and coordinator of the effort.

Acosta said that by finding the kids before they are in gangs and making parents aware of the problem, it is hoped the kids will never become part of the gang problem.

State Senator Lou Correa went along for a ride with one of the patrol units.

"It's my hope that when the parents find out what's happening that it's a reality check on their kids," he said.

By the end of the night, the parents of 51 kids were finding out the reality of what their sons and daughters were doing late at night.

The briefing was at 9 p.m. and by 10 p.m. – curfew time in most of Orange County – patrols were out. By 10:15 p.m. four juveniles were snared in Stanton, near the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Katella Avenue, just hanging out. Their moms and dads did not know they were out.

The parents found out when they came to a processing center set up at the Sheriff's training center in Anaheim to pick their kids up. Once there, they had to watch a video presentation about gang problems and what can lead kids to join gangs.

Then they had to listen to members of the GRIP team expose the truth of where their kids were found and what they were doing. After that, Orange County probation officers explained what could happen the next time.

Many parents were in denial.

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