Aired 2/17/11 What's the gang world like in America's Finest City? For several months, KPBS reporter Ana Tintocalis has been compiling a series of reports that she calls San Diego Gang Stories. It explains local gangs through the eyes of the people who come in contact with them. For the next hour, we'll bring you a special report that incorporates this series of Gang Stories. What's the gang world like in America's Finest City?
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For several months, KPBS reporter Ana Tintocalis has been compiling a series of reports that she calls San Diego Gang Stories. It explains local gangs through the eyes of the people who come in contact with them. For the next hour, we'll bring you a special report that incorporates this series of Gang Stories. Guest, KPBS Reporter and Jacobs fellow. This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.
I'm Maureen Cavanaugh and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. On the surface, San Diego may not seem like a hotbed of gang activity.
In November 1997, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office began using civil injunctions as a tool to curb gang activity in some neighborhoods. The most recent gang injunction was issued in November 2007 in San Marcos, California.
Our younger population is better known for being surfers, skate borders or hanging out at the beach. But on closer inspection, you can see signs of gangs just about everywhere from tagged over passes to young girls on the streets working for their gang pimps. Of the for several months, KPBS reporter Ana Tintocalis has been compiling a series of reports that she calls San Diego Gang Stories. It explains local gangs through the eyes of the people who come in contact with them. We're about to bring you a special report that incorporates this series of gang stories, but first I'd like to welcome reporter Ana Tintocalis, good morning, Ana. TINTOCALIS: Good morning, Maureen. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So why did you want to do this series of reports on gangs?
TINTOCALIS: Right. Well, I'm an education reporter here at KPBS. I'm not a crimes or gangs reporter. But in my education reporting time and time again, I heard of stories, and personal accounts of gang violence touching the lives of young people, and it was from student, it was from parent, school officials, and I thought there was a bigger story to tell there, you know, something that transcended the school grounds. You'd hear of gang members recruiting middle school students after school or a drive by shootings claiming the lives of these innocent teenagers, and it was something that struck me as something we haven't done here at KPBS, taking a hard look at gangs in San Diego County.
So KPBS gave me the opportunity to explore this issue for about six months as part of this kind of innovative fellowship, and the result was, as you mention, this collection of stories that really tells the collective experience of gangs in our county. I didn't want to single in on one particular community. You know, the communities south of the eight, and I began to realize this was everywhere, you know, from rural areas like Fallbrook to the coast, Solana Beach, Encinitas, to the U.S. Mexico border.
And so the culmination, which we'll hear in a couple minutes here, is a collection of these stories. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, was it hard to get people, kids, to open up to you to talk about gangs? TINTOCALIS: You know, yes and no. I found that once I sat down with these gang members, and kind of earned their trust, they were very open about telling me their personal struggles, coming from dysfunctional homes where moms and dads were not in the picture or there was severe substance abuse or physical abuse at home. And they were hope with telling me about getting into a gang, getting jumped in, the camaraderie they felt as being part of a gang. But they were also reflecting on their time in the gang.
They also were very open about telling me this false sense of protection, this false sense of loyalty of being in a gang. What I found difficult to get out from them is the actual crimes that they had committed. And I think there was a sense of, you know, remorse and shame and regret. You know, but quite frankly at the same time, they were scared to tell me exactly what had gone on, either because they might incriminate themselves further or other people. Of in the gang world, snitches are the low of the low. And you know, gang members who tell other people about the gang world are considered snitches.