The Violent Crimes Unit (VCU) investigates all gang-related crimes, from simple assault/battery up to attempted homicides, all robbery and violent assaults, all graffiti related incidents. VCU is also responsible for investigating and gathering intelligence on criminal/terrorist groups. This work group consists of eight (8) detectives and one (1) 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 2018, VCU investigators responded to 49 call outs, served 74 search warrants and seized over 18 firearms.
VCU tracks and documents gang members in the city and around the county in order to stay current on local gang trends. They investigate criminal gang activities and submit cases directly to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Gang Investigators are also responsible for managing Oxnard’s two civil injunctions (the Southside Gang Injunction and the Colonia Gang Injunction). Several recent court decisions throughout California have led the Oxnard Police Department and the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office to reexamine the manner in which individuals are subjected to the gang injunction. While representatives from both agencies continue to discuss and implement revisions to the process, the Oxnard Police Department has temporarily suspended enforcement of both gang injunctions until the review is concluded.
VCU actively investigates robberies and violent assaults. With the assistance of the Crime Analysis Unit (CAU), investigators attempt to identify crime trends, identify suspects, and arrest them to deter additional crimes. VCU actively pursues graffiti vandals, tracks and monitors acts of graffiti, and attempts to identify new graffiti trends.
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 probation department and mentoring the high risk juveniles. The hope and goal is to establish positive relationships 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 2018, 41 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 Ventura County 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.