Marin residents need to be increasingly proactive, engaged and shrewd to combat a pernicious gang presence in the county, especially with ongoing budget constraints on law enforcement resources, gang investigators said Thursday night.Police delivered the warning during a gang seminar at the Marin County Office of Education in San Rafael. The briefing was organized amid a recent upswing in gang violence and vandalism in the county, including a double shooting Jan. 3 at the Hamilton Marketplace in Novato.
San Rafael and Novato police and sheriff's deputies said Marin's gang participants tend to be based in San Rafael, Novato and Marin City, but their activities have been documented in neighborhoods and schools all over the county. Often they show up at parties, community events or public areas to sell drugs, recruit, intimidate and assert power, police said.
"Gangs are constantly morphing, changing their dynamic," said San Rafael police Sgt. Raul Aguilar. "Gangs want to stay ahead of the schools, the police, anyone who wants to curtail their activities."
Investigators urged parents to watch for signs of gang involvement in their children beginning as early as middle school, when they are searching for identity and a sense of belonging. Deputy Dave Gallegioni spoke of a working single parent who recently discovered that his teenage son had been a gang associate for some six years.
"It's a rude awakening for parents who are oblivious