Plan for Chattanooga neighborhood 'safety zone' draws criticism

Hamilton County district attorney files petition to declare validated gang members a public nuisance in East Lake Courts

District Attorney Neal Pinkston talks outside of Judge Tom Greenholtz's courtroom.

What is a 'validated' gang member?

Police use a standardized point system to evaluate whether a person is a validated gang member, awarding points for various indicators of gang membership, like gang tattoos, throwing gang signs in photos on social media, and self-profession of gang membership. Validated gang members tally more points than known associates.

Thirty-one gang members may soon be prohibited from partaking in a number of activities with other known gang members within a roughly two-mile "safety zone" in Chattanooga. But the American Civil Liberties Union says the idea is reminiscent of a controversial strategy called "broken windows policing."

After discussing safety zones in July, Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston filed a 31-page petition Monday calling for a court to officially label the Gangster Disciples and the Grape Street Crips as public nuisances in the East Lake Courts neighborhood.