Parents, most of you did a good job of getting your kids home last night.
A sweep of South Orange County cities for minors out past curfew netted only two finds.
One boy from Laguna Hills was returned to his parents, while a girl in Aliso Viejo was found with a warrant out for her arrest.
The efforts, mirrored in north Orange County, were coordinated by the Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership, a collaboration of the Sheriff’s Department, the Orange County district attorney’s office, Orange County Probation, school districts, businesses and community groups.
“We’re focusing on fourth- through eighth-graders,” said Deputy Felipe Martinez, who once saved a suicidal jumper in Rancho Santa Margarita and now serves as the GRIP officer for San Juan, Viejo and Kinoshita elementary schools, and Marco Forster and Newhart middle schools. “We want to catch them early to try to guide them and show them that there’s something else other than the gangs.”
The Thursday night curfew sweep, however, was targeted at any minors out after curfew.
Altogether, the efforts netted 29 minors caught after curfew across Orange County. More than law enforcement agents from 19 agencies participated.
Patch was invited on a ride-along with Martinez. Mission Viejo was the first stop because it has the earliest of curfews: 10 p.m. Patrols through parks, the Shops at Mission Viejo, the Kaleidoscope and the Promenade apartments netted only one stop – but the two young men were 19.
Next up was San Juan Capistrano. Multiple drives through multiple neighborhoods were fruitless. Except for three quick figures who dodged into the shadows at Las Villas, everything was quiet. Riders in another squad car said they saw someone in a tree but couldn’t make contact.
Determined to find a lawbreaker, Martinez scanned through the shops and parking lots around the Edwards Cinema in Aliso Viejo. No dice.