MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It has been more than four years since the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office announced Gang Injunction Zones.
The zones were created to prevent known gang members from gathering together in public areas, in an effort to reduce violent crime.
- Brawl breaks out at local high school graduation
- Memphis rapper jailed in North Carolina
- Veteran shot and killed while trying to stop domestic dispute
- FOX13 Investigates: How local gangs exploiting Facebook
Since its creation, there have been hundreds of arrests of known gang members.
Drive a few minutes in Memphis and you'll see some gang graffiti.
It's a sign of who runs the neighborhood.
And it's a reason why the DA's office cracked down in 2014 and targeted certain areas where notorious gangs had taken hold.
“It's been successful; it's been very successful. It is one of those initiatives that we utilize to first of all, let the bad guys know that the community is tired of their conduct,” said District Attorney Amy Weirich.
D.A. Weirich said the program has also empowered people to call police when they see crime.
“What we saw after each injunction was filed was that calls for service increased,” said Weirich. “What that means is that the community is trusting law enforcement again.”
The first injunction targeted the South Memphis Riverview area, and specifically the Rolling 90’s Crips. Gang graffiti is still there, but FOX13 asked the community if they have noticed an impact.
“It’s not as bad as it used to be, put it like that,” said Willie Walton, who lives in the area. “A long time ago before they started doing this they used to sit out in the park all the time, now I don't see that.”
Roscoe Jenkins, noticed less crime
“All the gang violence has really slowed down over here in our area,” said Roscoe Jenkins. “The Rolling 90 Crips they've been chilling man, ain't no banging been going on.”
Weirich said some investigations have led to major arrests, but she also recognizes gang members do not just disappear completely.
“This gang might know they're being looked at in this geographical area so let's just move over here and conduct our business there,” said Weirich.
With the proven success of injunctions, the only thing that is being taken out of the Riverside is the graffiti.
“We have found them to be helpful, and we will continue using them.”
It is unclear right now if more injunction zones are going to be put in place soon, but D.A. Weirich said there is a lot of vetting, investigative work, and judicial approval before any injunction zone goes into effect.