Swearengin Prepares to Face City Crime Issues

November 20, 2008 8:33:48 PM PST
Fresno mayor-elect Ashley Swearengin sat with the police chief and his district commanders for the first time Thursday to discuss crimes plaguing the city.Come January mayor-elect Ashley Swearengin will take over Fresno's highest office, in charge of protecting all the people. "I'm very anxious to get in there and understand what is going on?" said Swearengin.

Who better to show her than the Chief of police and his district commanders.

"I think that's important for the mayor to have that insight so that she can have a better understanding of what kind of public safety vision the two of us are going to have for the city," said Chief Jerry Dyer.

Commanders shared detailed data regarding crimes in the city. As of Wednesday, homicides were down 23% this year compared to 2007. Rape is down 28% and aggravated assaults are down 9%. But police and the mayor-elect will face some challenges. Dyer said the two biggest problems facing Fresno right now are car thefts and home burglaries. "We know that what impacts that severely is drug use and the economic downturn?unemployment rates," said Dyer.

And with the holiday season here and the threat of crimes increasing dyer has stepped up patrols in major retail areas of town and has a special surprise to catch would be criminals. Dyer: "(We're) going to be incorporating video policing this year into our overall strategies."

With all this information Swearengin said she looks forward to the challenge of keeping Fresno safe. "This is the first thorough briefing that I'll be a part of. Of course this is a regular monthly meeting that happens and it's great to see this kind of data available."

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