Concern over method of tracking San Diego's gang members

Posted at 5:38 PM, Nov 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-01 20:38:40-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego city leaders are set to discuss an audit of the city's gang registry and a new plan to curb gang progress.

It's not necessarily that there are now fewer gang members, but how they are counted that is facing scrutiny. One former member of the city's commission on gang violence said these measures are not enough.

Bishop Cornelius Bowser was on San Diego's Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention, but left earlier this year, claiming it was ineffective.

The commission lacks vision," Bowser said. "They're basically finding organizations that are already out there, and tagging along with them."
Bowser said he had pushed for creating a new program modeled after successful one in Los Angeles. The commission voted unanimoustly on it but when it got to the city council, nothing came of it.

A new report outlines a new "strategic action plan" which includes prevention, intervention, and high-risk engagement.

"We don't need more policing, we need resources, we need funding," Bowser said.

The report shows the number of gang members in San Diego decreased by 237 year-to-year. Of those, 58 were removed from the system after an audit of the list found they did not belong. 
Bowser said new laws have also restricted police from adding people.

"Now they being way more careful with what they do, not out of their generosity, but because the laws, the policies are forcing them to do it," Bowser said.
Donovan Eescalera, a self-proclaimed gang member, spoke with 10News.
Once upon a time, I always said, I would never join a gang," said Eescalera.

But he said now he's stuck.

"Due to a lot of personal issues, going on in my life, I cant, literally," Eescalera said.