Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris spoke in strident, forceful tones at a recent city council meeting in condemning Proposition 47 as a poorly conceived measure that has jeopardized the safety of his constituents.
Parris has taken an unusual step in initiating a region-wide reward program for information leading to the conviction of gang members who are committing felony crime in Lancaster, as well as those gang members residing in the city and committing felony crimes elsewhere.
“This program is specifically aimed at significantly reducing gang violence committed in our community, by Crips, Bloods or any other gangs,” Parris said. “Due to half-baked initiatives like AB109 and Proposition 47, criminals are less accountable for their egregious crimes, and our citizens are the ones suffering at the hands of these freed and early-released gangsters.”
Parris said that gang members and gang-related crimes “will not be tolerated in our city” and is, in effect, declaring an all-out war on gangs. To prove his point, he is personally funding $1,000 to any person who can provide sufficient information leading to the arrest and conviction of gang-felony suspects residing in Lancaster. Parris believes that in generating tips—not only for recent gang-related crimes but for previously unsolved cases—he can help to thwart future offenses.
“I simply do not want to lose another life in our city due to this senselessness,” Parris added. “I am telling you right now, any gang member committing felonies in our city needs to know that there is a reward out on you, and your day is coming.”
Lancaster will be working with the Sheriff’s Department to structure the reward-based system, which will allow all county residents to report any information about local gang members and their activities. The program hopes to ensure that information is legitimately processed and suspect information properly vetted, while allowing for safe anonymity to those providing the information.
City officials and the Sheriff’s Department is exploring additional ways to apprehend and prosecute criminal gang members. They are looking at establishing a GoFundMe account or some other funding avenue to which anyone can contribute toward the capture of criminals throughout the Antelope Valley.
“No one person … no one entity … no one community can do this alone,” Parris explained. “I implore municipal, community and business leaders throughout the nation to take a stand against gang crimes and any other unlawful activities plaguing their cities. I’m putting my money where my mouth is, and so can you through a diligent effort to eliminate these domestic terrorists from our cities.”