Gangs Not Tolerated in Livermore

Life's too good here to have it ruined by thugs.

I feel like I’m living in two different Livermore worlds.

On one hand, we have this lovely town filled with friendly people. As the days get warmer, nothing’s sweeter than hanging out downtown, taking advantage of sidewalk eateries from on one end to on the other. Or having a beer with friends on the patios over at the on Portola.

When I ride my horse with my pals at , or , I’m amazed at how you can go such a short distance from town and find a peaceful place to restore your spirit.

Not long ago, a friend of mine came for a visit from St. Louis and was smitten by the beauty of , and even more impressed with the cuisine at , the midway stopping point of our hike.

Within a few minutes of our homes, we can find ourselves in a world-class restaurant or having a picnic in a local park or winery.

Right around the calendar corner, kicking off the summer, is the World’s Fastest Rodeo, with a week of festivities celebrating our Western roots. It's a reminder that people around here still making a living from raising cattle and working in agriculture.

And when budget cuts took away our beloved fireworks show last year, residents and businesses rallied to . No one shuts down our traditions.

Now you can quibble about the fact that this year’s display will likely be at rather than , but the bottom line is that we have our fireworks back thanks to a community that cared enough to make that happen.

But just when you think the biggest scuffle in town centers on where the fireworks will take place this year, you read about and gang-related . 

A for residents around the Walnut Street area where the most recent incident on Easter afternoon took place. 

At least one attendee expressed frustration at the effort that didn’t — in the commenter’s mind — address the problem beyond turning on lights and watching out for suspicious doorknockers.

Our tireless Patch editor Kris Noceda filed on the meeting, which he attended. Police Chief Steve Sweeney told those at the meeting that Livermore needs more feet on the street.

We all recognize there's a growing problem that needs to be solved — although it's difficult to get our minds around a Livermore where such things could take place.

For years I’ve walked and jogged near the neighborhood where the Easter shoot-up took place and never once worried about being out there after dark or in the early-morning hours. The homes seem filled with families, or older residents who have already done their diaper duties.

It never appeared to be a place where you should don a flak jacket.

But then I never thought that anyone, especially a police officer, would have to worry about .

Everyone needs to be watching their neighborhoods a little closer these days, and by nipping the problems early we can probably keep these incidents to a minimum.  

But it's going to take some organization and some city involvement, which began with Mayor John Marchand taking the lead on the Walnut Street neighborhood watch meeting. Now, citizens need to move forward by going to council meetings to voice their concerns, and discuss steps that can be taken including reinstating .

There's only so much pie in the pan, so if we ask the city to allocate more funds for a dedicated drug and gang team, then something else is going to have to go. But with public safety a No. 1 issue for most folks here, it may be time to tell the council exactly that.

If we can get the fireworks back, we can certainly bring back the task force if that's what it takes to stop the gangs from getting any more of a presence here in Livermore.

Leslie E. April 25, 2012 at 09:37 PM
We deffinatly need a tast force! Also, I live around the corner... Anyone been down this part of town at night???? It is pitch black with a street light every other block that only lights up the ground below it! They need more lighting and more police presence to deter crime!!!!
Ly April 26, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Leslie - I agree, completely! I hate going outside at night because I can't see anything!
Lynette Jones-Murphy April 26, 2012 at 03:53 AM
@David-we sent him to Youthcare in Utah. Like I said it was a very hard time for him, his brothers and us. Many people give up on at risk children when they turn to negative attention seeking choices/behaviors. I wish we as a community would come around these beautiful children and teenagers and build them up vs tear them down. I know first hand how exhausting it is as a parent to an emotionally disturbed child. Society isn't accepting or naturing to these children or teens. I personally think people should get more involved and educated. If this would happen Livermore would be a much better place. People have a mind set of it's not my problem. If every person took a minute to look at the at risk children they would see a cycle. We hold the key to changing that destructive, unhealthy cycle. As these at risk children grow up they will either be in jail/prison, on the streets, or in and out of mental hospitals. I personally think everyone deserves a chance at life without feeling they are a burden on someone.
Mike S April 26, 2012 at 04:01 AM
So let's be real honest here about Livermore gangs. It's important to understand that there is a difference between gangs and disruptive groups. Livermore has a handful of disruptive groups. Livermore has it's biggest problem with two gangs, Norteno and Sureno. Livermore police and social workers need to focus on the neighborhoods where the gangs breed. (Think Chestnut - Junction Ave - L St. - Rincon - Pine St. as 30 blocks of focus) Although it is true there are gangs in other areas these are the primary areas of breeding and support. Listen to a police scanner and you'll hear first hand where the majority of gang crime originates. Stay out of those neighborhoods and certainly don't wear a red or blue jog suit. Livermore PD...do what is right and focus your policing efforts where you know this criminal activity is occuring.
RU11550 April 26, 2012 at 08:59 AM
Seriously! I vote for providing a safe place to raise my family, not another unnecessary theatre.
Lmr April 26, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I have recently noticed graffiti in my neighborhood. I immediately emailed and called the graffiti department with the City of Livermore. It was on private property (3 locations) they immediately contacted the property owenrs and it was removed withink a week. We need to pay attention and take action. Also I contacted Captain Sweeny via email to see what I could do to support his effort to control the gangs and drugs in Livermore. He said the City Council is supportive but a letter would be helpful. I plan to write that letter and attend the next City Council meeting. I agree with Susan Young. Livermore is a great place. We need to be eyes and ears and take action with our Police and Ci0ty Officials to control gangs, graffiti and drugs in our town. The police can't do it alone. Hope to see you all at the next City Council meeting. Hope you all call when you see something that doesn't look right and report graffiti immediately.
Bay Area Patch Reader April 26, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Since I moved to Livermore, I've noticed the catering business on North L, right next to the liquor store, next to the car wash, is a huge target for graffiti. Makes me wonder if that corner is a territorial spot?
Rich Buckley April 26, 2012 at 10:00 PM
The Brown Act was never intended to stop debate on vital issues of urgency : http://tinyurl.com/89acgd2
Gangster hater April 27, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Lynette.There is no blame game. You have to make excuses because you husband decided to be a father after a few decades. If he would have done his job, his son wouldn't have been in this situation. Your children are your responsibility. I don't want my children around these rotten to the core human beings. Lynette's son may have straightened out, maybe not. Most of these kids will have babies out of wedlock and end up in jail. We need to find and island far away for these sub humans so the rest of the good people can live their lives in peace.
Mbug April 27, 2012 at 06:42 AM
Come join us for, Graffiti Identification/Eradication Saturday April 28, 9AM-12PM at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Mocho St.
Owl April 27, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Removal of gang activity should be a priority. I think the law should go after this element through individual evaluation. Are they minors? Hold their parents responsible for their actions. Are they adults? How are they paying bills, rent, and taxes? Do they have legitimate jobs? (Doubtful). Take 'em down like Al Capone.
Rich Buckley April 27, 2012 at 03:48 PM
You sound very informed Mike. What is it that the interior supposed brotherhood of gang life fulfills in its members that's so appealing?
Speedie B April 27, 2012 at 04:48 PM
There is a lightpost behind Lowes that has had graffiti on for over a year. I have been complaining since January to both Lowes and Safeway to paint the stop markings on the ground at the 4-way intersection near the Safeway gas station and was told it's Lowes problem and they need to contact the property manager. What can be done to have commercial property owners fix the graffiti and traffic signs?
Ashley H April 27, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I am so in love with Livermore and what it has to offer, but the shootings, stabbings, and rediculous acts like breaking an officer's leg and throwing boulders at an officer that happend over the last year helped in the decision for our family to decide to buy in Brentwood. Of course it is cheaper there too and this stuff may happen there now or it will soon enough, but Livermore has gotten out of control! It is really sad, and I prefer not to raise my children with these kids with such lack of values and guidence. BTW....Does anyone wonder why kids are allowed to gather at the park downtown on Fourth and J and smoke pot, do drug deals out in the open, etc.? I drive by here daily for work, and I have seen them sitting in cars smoking pot out of pipes and dealing. Many times this is during school hours and they look like they are high school age. I have been told by a Granada student that Speed and Extacy are rampid in all of the schools here too.
ugh. April 27, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I used to live on Walnut Street in the 80's. I voted for the Proposition put forth by Gov. Davis to stop providing social services and education to illegal immigrants. The voters approved the law and the Courts threw it out. Now we are dealing with the results. Had these families not been giving all the freebies to raiser their children here and to end up as gangsters we wouldn't have a problem like we do now.
Rich Buckley April 27, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I try to jump right on mine and paint it. It doesn't take a second notice for me once I see it. Every property owner I've ever dealt with is just as responsive. Big companies get lost in their own bureaucracy sometimes. I wouldn't pretend to speak for them. But as for local business proprietors they are the back bone of enthusiasm for keeping their area looking as good as possible. Big shopping centers generally report to fire departments and first responders so the cities have the contact numbers. They do not want to call these contacts unless it's considered a "real emergency!" The city does not want to appear to be micro-managing everything. However, there are two areas where there seems to be a stepped up level of effort tactfully implemented and coordinated: (a) Graffitti Abatement Teams (b) Illegally parked and abandoned cars Abandoned cars are very hard to get moved. I had a shopping center in the East Bay where a car was abandoned. I asked my team to get on it. We had a choice, doing it legally, which we were told could take 2 years (I'm not kidding... it's a long story) or doing it illegally and have it removed in a week.... don't ask me. The point being it kind of depends on where the problem is located sometimes. If it's located on a public right of way, the political issues become more under city control. If it's on private property thing can get really, really legally complicated. The city of Livermore has good policies of helping even still.
Rich Buckley April 27, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I once wrote a letter to the City of Half Moon Bay complementing them after a visit where there was no visible graffiti, even behind some of the shopping centers where I found homeless sleeping. I asked their city manager what was their secret. They wrote back and said in effect, they are no different than any other town when it comes to graffiti but they do jump right on it when discovered. It's a community thing. They considered it politically important for business, public relations, community spirit, a sense of security. While I wrote the city manager, it was the chief of police that responded. That seem to hold a clue to the answer. The local officers on the beat seem to be trained to be part of the "reporting network" that fed information into the system.... obviously at a much lower priority than other crimes, (I could be wrong, but why else would the Chief get involved with my letter) .... where local volunteer crews abated the graffiti. Their model seems to work for them.
Shelley Buchberger April 27, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Part of this issue needs to be addressed between the police department and the school district. When I worked in Tracy, either the schools or the police would inform us of kids who were at risk for being in a gang or already showing signs of it and we put them in counseling programs. I know with the cutbacks at the schools itcan be difficult but we applied for grants and got it funded. This helped to steer the kids away from gangs and teach them alternatives and done at a much younger age before they are not redeemable.
cher howe April 27, 2012 at 09:43 PM
a local citizen April 27, 2012 at 10:20 PM
If you don't think drugs are in the Brentwood Schools then you are really kidding yourself. Brentwood is not perfect take a look. http://www.city-data.com/so/so-Brentwood-California.html http://crimemap.ci.brentwood.ca.us/Incidents/PublicWeb.aspx
Rich Buckley April 27, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Shelley, Were you working for the school district when the school or the police informed you who they felt were at risk kids?
Shelley Buchberger April 28, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Yes I was. Im retired now. It was started about 13 years ago. Not sure if they still do it in tracy but it was very successful. The kids knew they were being monitered so their behavior was better for the most part.
Don April 28, 2012 at 10:00 PM
A lot of very good thoughts on the subject. Bottom line is gang prevention is like weed control, if you don't get it in the early stages it will get out of hand and much more difficult to eradicate it. Look at Richmond, Oakland, and other major gang cities.
Rich Buckley April 29, 2012 at 02:02 AM
I do not know this stuff. What is the connection among artistic "graffiti taggers" which I thought was more individualistic expression often reflecting some level of talent, as compared to "gang brotherhood" which I thought was more about marking territory with some crude logo, capturing lonely hearts in search of attention, and tied to a whole gateway of illicit life choices of shadowy glamours that pull kids down into hellacious death spirals.
Sandy April 30, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Jerry Brown warned....loudly....10-15 years ago that gangs were our biggest problem.....people ignored him. We need to be aggressive about eliminating them. Carnegie Park loiterers dont look gang affiliated , more like homeless and losers with nothing better to do. Sad when you see them so young. As far as Brentwood goes.... Don't be fooled. It's worse up there. Lived there 15 years ago..... Couldn't wait to get out. Antioch is moving into that town in a hurry. We called Antioch little Oakland. Years later..... It's 100 times worse. Drugs are in every school folks..... Even in the affluent ones. Only difference is that they can afford the good stuff! Livermore PD and our city council need to make it clear that gangs won't be tolerated. It can be done .....
Desert Rat May 23, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Ditto on paint needed by the Safeway gas station. How silly for somebody to paint three of the four lines and letters and leave the fourth because "it isn't our responsibility"? How about spending the extra few bucks and just doing it right? I've seen several near misses and was nearly hit myself trying to get into the Lowes lot.
N.P. Flasch June 19, 2012 at 02:57 AM
I wish I had seen this topic earlier. Unfortunately, due to lots of first-hand experience I happen to know a little bit about the graffiti problem. I can offer sound advice on what to do if you see it as well as different ways to try and prevent/protect your home or business. Before getting into that however, allow me start by saying graffiti is a destructive blight on our city that it is terribly frustrating for the citizens of Livermore as well as for city officials. First off, the bad news: If your home or business falls victim to this scourge, you are also responsible for removing it. As bitter of a pill that is to swallow, it is a fact. The City of Livermore will not remove graffiti from privately-owned property. In most cases, quick removal of graffiti helps discourage vandals from hitting your property again. Using lighting, decorative landscaping and keeping a close eye on your property for nefarious activity can go a long way in protecting your property from graffiti. It may cost a bit up front but it will pay off if you live in a graffiti-prone area. Here are some resources for reporting graffiti in the City of Livermore whether on public or private property: By telephone: Graffiti Abatement Hotline: 925-960-8060 Via the City's website: http://www.cityoflivermore.net/citygov/pw/maint/request.asp Once reported, city staff will contact the property owner to begin the removal process. Good luck!
Bay Area Patch Reader June 19, 2012 at 04:18 AM
I had reported several locations in my neighborhood that had graffiti and within a week, it was all removed by the city. Now if only Union Pacific were on top of things. I reported the graffiti on the storage unit on North L Street, over a month ago, and it's still there. In fact, the original graffiti had been crossed out and written over with another gang's graffiti. I will be calling UP every day until it's removed.
Rich Case July 27, 2012 at 09:16 AM
Last week at the Transit Center I was assaulted by a gang taking advantage of the bottle-neck entrance to surround and ambush a lone pedestrian. Although I managed an escape (a decade of track and field to thank for that) it was a close, and menacing call. It is traumatizing enough to be assaulted--in Livermore's downtown area (not far from the police sub-station no less)--but the sad fact is that this is the fourth time I have been assaulted by a gang in Livermore. As a working student I cannot afford a car and I have to walk between transit points daily. I try to avoid compromising areas/hours on my commute yet I cannot seem to avoid Livermore's gangs. I have had my valuables stolen. I have had to flee desperately (and extensively). I have had to, LIMP home jaw, nose, face broken, eye swollen shut, massive concussion, amnesiac, after I was beaten thoroughly and left for dead lights out in a ditch. During a flashback I recalled having done nothing to provoke the group that had ambushed me. I respect and sympathize with the LPD's service yet it is hard to have faith when upon each report I've filed I get a "so what" and "can't do anything". True there was insufficient evidence to pursue and prosecute within reasonable terms of the report, yet the prevalence and severity of this crime pattern calls for FUNDAMENTAL adaptation for prevention. Individual Officers will have to push to realize a solid gang prevention program, and find pride in their work--or fail their title.
Owl July 27, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Rich, it really bums me out that you've been assaulted like that. Is the Transit Center behind the new theater, near the downtown parking structure? What time where you assaulted? I can understand how a person with your past experiences might want to carry a gun and level a little street justice on these bastards.


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