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City Seeks Safety Zone Against Gang

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - In response to gang violence in parts of Oakland, the city sought court action to create a 100-block "safety zone" on the North Side Gang's turf. The city wants the Alameda County Superior Court to bar gang members from intimidating witnesses, loitering, and possessing firearms, drugs or spray paint in public, among other things.

"Residents live in fear of shootings and random violence breaking out at any moment on the streets, sidewalks and local parks in their neighborhood," city attorney John Russo said in court papers. "The violent acts of these gang members have endangered residents' lives and shattered their sense of peace and security."

The gang has allegedly been involved in murder, attempted murder, assault, carjacking, robbery, burglary and other crimes, and is known for intimidating and frightening law-abiding residents of the community.

Russo said people who live on the gang's turf are afraid to report violent crimes for fear of retaliation, so the creation of a safety zone is necessary.

"What we're doing today is giving our streets back to the good citizens that live there," Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said. "[T]here are many good citizens that live in that area, and we support them."

Batts is expected to release the police department's strategic plan for the safety zone.

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