Despite Spike in Murders Chief Says Crime Is Down

October 1, 2008 8:49:25 AM PDT
"It took a 15 year old boy getting stabbed to get anything done in this neighborhood." This Fresno woman is so scared about the violent crime in her Central Fresno neighborhood she didn't want to be identified. She lives across the street from Lafayette Park where Monday afternoon 15 year old George Castillero was stabbed to death by another 15 year old. The concerned mother went on to say, "I never know if there's going to be a drive-by because of gangs getting in fights on our street and I don't know if they're going to stab my children or shoot them so I don't even let my kids out."

Tuesday afternoon investigators got a call from the teen suspected of fatally stabbing George Castillero. At a news conference Chief Jerry Dyer said, "A 15 year old juvenile did make contact with detectives and made arrangements to turn himself in."

A few hours after Castillero was stabbed to death someone shot and killed 33 year old Michael Caldera on the corner of Poppy and Grove in Southwest Fresno. It's the 4th murder there in 15 months. And just last Friday Police say Manuel Mancilla shot and killed Victor Cedano at the Northwest Fresno Chuck E Cheese restaurant. Chief Dyer says all three murders were isolated cases and Fresno residents shouldn't be worried about their safety. "We are seeing a significant decrease in violence within our city."

Dyer says there were 43 murders in Fresno this time last year. So far this year there have been 33. That's a 23% reduction from last year. He went on to say shootings are also down by 30% from 2007. Overall, Dyer cites a 10.6 percent drop in violent crime.

Police have set up a neighborhood meeting next Tuesday at Kirk Elementary in Southwest Fresno at 6 pm to talk about the violence that's plaguing the area, especially at Poppy and Grove. Police say they will have a street camera installed there next week that will be monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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