Fresno Special Response Teams crack down on gang violence

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Starting this month Special Response Teams have been re-assigned to high violence areas in the city. (KFSN)

Starting this month Special Response Teams have been re-assigned to high violence areas in the city. The goal is to reduce the number of shootings and homicides.

Officer Eric Ovalle is only a week into his new shift but he's already made dozens of stops.

"Our biggest problem in all areas is going to be the shootings, basically violent crime," Officer Ovalle said.

His new assignment puts him at Pontiac and Effie. From 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day -- his job is to figure out why there is a resurgence of gang violence there, and how to stop it.

"That's the benefit of getting out to the district again, you start getting to know the faces again."

Special Response Teams like his have moved into Central, Southeast, and Southwest Fresno this month -- fueled in part by the increase of shootings in 2017.

There were 516 shootings last year, the majority happening in the southern half of the city.

So far Friday night Ovalle has stopped people for broken brake lights, parole checks, and loitering.

He says these sweeps are the solution, families like Marissa Raby whose car window was shot out just this week -- say they are grateful for any support.

There has been some progress already -- in Southwest Fresno, police recovered two handguns in the last two days.

Officer Ovalle said, "We weren't actually going out looking for the people committing the crimes prior to the crime being occurred, we would get the search warrant after the crime has already been committed and going to find the people that did them, now being in the districts we can concentrate more on the crimes from actually occurring."

Ovalle says this is not just a month-long operation. His team will not be leaving until substantial change is made.

Related Topics:
fresno police departmentgang violenceFresno County
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