In order to combat a serious gang threat in several cities
throughout the state of California, its state legislature passed the
"The Legislature hereby finds and declares that it is
the right of every person, regardless of race, color, creed, religion,
national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, or handicap, to be secure and
protected from fear, intimidation, and physical harm caused by the
activities of violent groups and individuals.
It is not the intent of this chapter to interfere with the
exercise of the constitutionally protected rights of freedom of expression
and association. The Legislature hereby recognizes the constitutional right
of every citizen to harbor and express beliefs on any lawful subject
whatsoever, to lawfully associate with others who share similar beliefs, to
petition lawfully constituted authority for a redress of perceived
grievances, and to participate in the electoral process.
The Legislature, however, further finds that the State
of California is in a state of crisis which has been caused by violent
street gangs whose members threaten, terrorize, and commit a multitude
of crimes against the peaceful citizens of their neighborhoods. These
activities, both individually and collectively, present a clear and present
danger to public order and safety and are not constitutionally protected.
The Legislature finds that there are nearly 600
criminal street gangs operating in California, and that the number of
gang-related murders is increasing. The Legislature also finds that in Los
Angeles County alone there were 328 gang-related murders in 1986, and that
gang homicides in 1987 have increased 80 percent over 1986.
It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this
chapter to seek the eradication of criminal activity by street gangs by
focusing upon patterns of criminal gang activity and upon the organized
nature of street gangs, which together, are the chief source of terror
created by street gangs.
The Legislature further finds that an effective means of
punishing and deterring the criminal activities of street gangs is through
forfeiture of the profits, proceeds, and instrumentalities acquired,
accumulated, or used by street gangs."