Most Homicides Gang-Related

Clarissa Aljentera, Monterey Herald (Cal.), Jan. 3

The majority of homicides in Monterey County 2004 were tied to gang violence. Whether it was an affiliated gang member, a possible retaliation or a gang-type crime, 23 of the 37 homicides were gang-related.

For the investigators working on the killings, there’s a sense of frustration because of a lack of cooperation from victims families and witnesses.

“On the majority of the homicides police aren’t there to witness what occurred,” said Salinas Sgt. Vince Maiorana. “We depend on witnesses to help gather information.”

In the first three weeks of the year, there were five homicides in Salinas, all gang-related and all involving young Latino men, Maiorana said.

Only one of those cases resulted in arrests.

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Sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Dahmen said north and south Monterey County were plagued by gang violence.

For the sheriff’s jurisdiction, the gang activity hit a high point this year, he said.

“It fluctuates every year,” he said. “Obviously, there was more gang activity this year (2004). I don’t know what is going on with that.”

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