New Bill Targets Gang Pimps

Newly proposed legislation aims to hit San Diego gangs where it hurts

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    If passed, the bill would hit gangs where it really hurts.

    Law enforcement may soon have a new tool in the fight against illegal street gangs making huge sums of money recruiting young girls into prostitution.

    Assem. Marty Block, (D) 78th District, has introduced AB 918 that would amend the Step Act by adding pimping and pandering to the list of offenses considered gang-related activities.

    Gangs find young girls in schools, Block said, and pimp them to bring in cash and new recruits.

    Adding the crimes of pandering and pimping can help prosecutors establish a pattern Block said.

    ”We’ve got to put a stop to this if we’re going to have a real impact on decreasing gang activity,” Block said.

    San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said the bill would give her special prosecutors more ammunition against a new type of hybrid gang that’s been popping up in the county.

    AB 918 would not only strengthen penalties for gang pimping but also provide for better supervision for gang pimps when on probation or parole, Dumanis said.

    “This bill needs to pass, the lives of our young girls are at risk, “ said San Diego Supervisor Dianne Jacob who described seeing the impact of prostitution on San Diego’s youth firsthand during a sheriff’s ride-along several years ago.

    The bill will go before the Public Safety Committee Tuesday where it must be approved before moving on to Appropriations for a look at costs.

    “It seems like a common sense approach,” said Block. “But in this time of reduced resources, any additional legislation is appropriately questioned.” 

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