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Juvenile gang sweep in Victor Valley

Juvenile crime intervention operation held throughout Victor Valley

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Apple Valley Station may only have cold and gloomy weather to blame for the small results during a juvenile gang suppression operation held from 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday.

“This (sweep) our numbers are probably going to be low, because it’s windy and dusty,” Deputy Aaron Conley said. “If I was at home, I wouldn’t be outside either.”

A grant awarded from the California Gang Reduction and Intervention Program made the operation possible, which helps identify juvenile gang members, allows supervised contact with probationers and facilitates arrests for gang members in violation.

“The gang operation pays for eight deputies for 10 hours,” Conley said.

Saturday’s operation was the first to take place using the grant. Conley plans to schedule 12 sweeps throughout the year.

In this sweep, two-man teams focused on Apple Valley, Victorville and Hesperia, but future sweeps will follow in surrounding cities.

“The grant specifies that it needs to be a regional type of focus,” Conley said.

During the early portion of the operation on Saturday, two different juveniles were checked on at their residence, both of which were not home at the time.

“It’s one of those things that no matter how hard you look, sometimes you just can’t find anything. Then when you’re not looking, it just falls in your lap,” Conley said.

Another stop was made at an abandoned business parking lot with a juvenile carrying a baseball bat.

According to Deputy Sarah Ferguson, this particular parking lot had been experiencing vandalism. The juvenile looked suspicious with the bat so he was stopped, but was released.

The grant is also providing for curfew sweeps. For that operation, a 10 p.m. curfew is set.

“Unless they have a specific purpose without their parents to be out, they’re in violation of curfew,” Conley said.

The grant is also helping to teach 50 third graders at Phoenix Academy and Sandia Elementary School.

“It’s paying to teach a life-skills training class,” Conley said. “That program teaches them ... (how to avoid) bad decisions. It’s an evidencebased program that reduces alcohol, smoking and tobacco use by 80 to 90 percent, if we keep on them. (The grant) is also paying for bullying programs at the schools and the intervention of gang members. If we can get to them young, we can try to rehabilitate them.”

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