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Local Ordinances

Municipalities have enacted a variety of measures designed to curb gang violence. Some ordinances contain provisions similar to state statutes. For example, the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, enacted an anti-gang recruitment ordinance to protect its citizens from the fear, intimidation, and physical harm caused by the criminal activities of gangs. The ordinance provides a laundry list of offenses that are considered gang crimes and prohibits individuals from recruiting members to join criminal street gangs.

One of the most common forms of municipal ordinances aimed at reducing gang activities appears in the form of anti-loitering laws. The use of these laws to reduce unwanted elements within a city has a long history. Many cities have enacted such laws to allow police to arrest vagrants and others deemed to be menaces to society. Several cities adapted these laws to apply specifically to gang members. However, some courts have determined that these laws are unconstitutional either on their face or as applied to particular defendants.

Local governmental entities have also enacted public NUISANCE laws designed to allow local law enforcement to enjoin criminal activities. Like the anti-loitering ordinances, these laws have come under attack on a variety of constitutional grounds.

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