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Property Abatements—The Other Gang Injunction: Project T.O.U.G.H.

NCJ Number
Johathan Cristall; Liora Forman-Echols
Date Published
September 2009
18 pages
This National Gang Center Bulletin describes the use of Project T.O.U.G.H. (Taking Out Urban Gang Headquarters) by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office.
Project T.O.U.G.H. (Taking Out Urban Gang Headquarters) is a specialized unit of the criminal branch of the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office that works to reduce gang crime in the City of Los Angeles. This document describes how Project T.O.U.G.H. is used by law enforcement officials to reduce the influence of gangs and gang crime in the city. Project T.O.U.G.H. is an innovative property abatement program started in 2007 by city prosecutors. The intent of the program is to use civil lawsuits to abate gang activity at private properties. Several benefits are cited for the use of civil lawsuits: 1) civil lawsuits allow for injunctive relief to be obtained to abate the nuisance; 2) the defendants in a civil suit do not have a right to a jury trial or a court-appointed attorney; and 3) the burden of proof in a civil lawsuit is lower than that in criminal proceedings. This document describes in detail how the program works through the use of gang property abatements, presents the three legal theories which form the basis of the lawsuit - narcotics abatement, general public nuisance, and unfair competition law; and examines how cases are handled once a property has been identified for abatement. Several case studies are included as examples of Project T.O.U.G.H. 34 footnotes