Faust and Mark Garcia, Huntington Beach Police Gang Unit detectives,
encountered little gang activity during their nighttime patrol of the
community that hardly covers more than half of a square mile. But they
know the placid appearance can be deceiving.
"We're in a lull," they said.
Faust stressed that violence among the city's most powerful Latino street
gang -- South Side Huntington Beach -- comes in waves.
"Most of their leaders are in jail," Faust said. "But we still stay on
top of them to try to keep them from growing."
VIOLENCE HAS SUBSIDED
The drop in violence in the Oak View community is recent -- about six
The two veteran officers said the quiet is the result of a major law
enforcement crackdown in July, after two gang-related killings occurred
in Oak View within 24 hours.
"That's where he was killed," Faust said, pointing from the undercover
patrol car to a home where one of South Side's members was killed by a
rival gang member from Santa Ana. "There was a shrine with flowers and
candles before, but I guess they forgot about him."
The two killings within 17 hours -- and four streets -- of one another
drew a swift and crippling reaction from local police departments.
A multi-agency operation using 80 officers arrested four suspects,
confiscated five firearms and put South Side's leadership in jail. Only
after that massive operation has the neighborhood calmed down, the pair
The department's two foot patrol teams that cover the Oak View area and
aggressive gang intervention have kept activity low since the killings,
"Old South Sider's used to go to other neighborhoods and shoot it up,"
foot patrol Officer Art Preece said after meeting up with Garcia and
Faust at the Slater substation Friday night.
Not so anymore, Preece said.
"We're all over these guys [the gang]," he said.
There have been no South Side homicides since the police summer
crackdown. But that doesn't mean the gang -- made up of 30 to 50 members
-- doesn't still exist. Faust said assault, theft and drug sales are the
three most common South Side crimes. He said officers are engaged in foot
pursuits in the Oak View community "on a daily basis."
And sometimes things get violent.