The Violent Crimes Unit (VCU) investigates all gang related crimes from simple battery up to and including attempted homicides, all robbery and violent assaults, all graffiti related incidents and is responsible for investigating and gathering intelligence on criminal/terrorist groups. This workgroup consists of nine officers and one sergeant. VCU investigators are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They respond to and investigate violent crimes including robberies, stabbings, and shootings. In 2016, VCU investigators responded to 54 call outs, served 80 search warrants and seized over two dozen firearms.
VCU tracks and documents gang members in the city and around the county in order to stay current on local gang trends. They are charged with investigating all criminal gang activities and submitting cases directly to the District Attorney’s Office for vertical prosecution. Gang Investigators are also responsible for managing Oxnard’s two civil injunctions (Southside Gang Injunction and the Colonia Gang Injunction).
VCU actively and aggressively investigates robberies and violent assaults. With the assistance of the Crime Analysis Unit (CAU), investigators attempt to identify crime trends, identify suspects and swiftly arrest them to reduce additional crimes. They actively pursue graffiti vandals, track and monitor graffiti vandals and attempt to identify new graffiti trends.
The below graph depicts a five year snapshot (2012-2016) of all the gang assaults, robberies, and violent assaults.
The Violent Crimes Unit is committed to establishing partnerships with our community. One of these relationships is with the Boys and Girls Club Evening Reporting Center (ERC) project. This program targets high risk juveniles and is located on Seventh Street. VCU is also teaming up with the juvenile hall staff and making visits with the high risk juveniles that are in custody. The hope and goal is to establish a positive relationship and mentor the at risk youth.
VCU is committed to preventative measures within our schools. One of the ways they accomplish this goal is by putting on gang awareness presentations and interacting with students and teachers. They also provide gang awareness presentations to local community and nonprofit organizations. In 2016, 24 of these gang awareness presentations were provided to various community groups and schools. In an effort to reduce graffiti vandals from re-offending, VCU has partnered with the probation department and takes out first time graffiti vandals to paint over graffiti plagued areas. The strategy is to give the juvenile offender a second chance and offer a positive alternative to incarceration or fines.