CalGang Database: Should You Know If You’re Labeled?

Jul. 8, 2013 / By

We'ced gangs


Photo: waltarrrrr

by We’Ced Youth Media

Editor’s Note: CalGang is a non-public database that started as a way to help Los Angeles law enforcement keep track of gang members and affiliates. Due to its ‘success’ it has expanded to cover all of California. There is now an estimated 200,000 individuals in the CalGang database, some as young as 10 years old. There is no notification to the individual once they are registered in the database and the criteria for inclusion has been highly criticized. Senate Bill 458 is being discussed in California’s legislature, which would grant parents notification if their underage child is registered in CalGang. After a hearty discussion around the database and what it could mean for young people in Merced, We’Ced had some insights to share on the matter.

Diego Sandoval, 18

It could be really easy to end up in the CalGang database in Merced because I like to think that even though we consider Merced ghetto in a way, we all sort of get along, gangsters talk to skaters and so on. It’s easy to be labeled for the way you dress or who you talk to.

I don’t even think that should be questionable if someone is under 18 and they are put in the database then their parents should be notified no matter the circumstances. If it were my child, I would like to know and would have a right to!

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WeCed Youth Media

Merced and its surrounding areas have always had a vibrant population of young people. Unfortunately, too often there is a disconnect between generations that can lead to misunderstandings and a lack of communication. WeCed's aim through its program and publication is to highlight and empower youth to tell their stories and that of their communities, while providing them with the guidance and skill-building necessary to foster the development of their strongest possible voice.