Fresno's most wanted among city's poorest

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It's statistically proven, some of the most violent crimes in Fresno happen in the poorest parts of the city. (KFSN)

It's statistically proven, some of the most violent crimes in Fresno happen in the poorest parts of the city.

Van Nguyet has called a southeast Fresno salon home for 10 years.

Her customers are mostly regulars. "Coming for awhile, she is like family," a patron said. So, they're all concerned for their favorite salon owner. "That night I'm really scared," Nguyet remembered. "Like, I'm shaking for two hours."

Just one week ago, burglars smashed through the drywall of her salon. It's the second incident in just six months.

Now Nguyet is cutting back hours and thinking about retiring early. "Working every day and knowing that she works hard for her money," customer Pia Cha said. "It hurts to know somebody is trying to take food from her table, that's all."

The police officers in southeast Fresno say gangs and poverty are the driving force behind criminal activity here. "We have over 27 gangs that consider southeast Fresno their home base," Lt. Mark Salazar with the Fresno Police Department explained. "And they're congregated in different areas of the city, and, not surprisingly, that's where our shootings and where our personal robberies are at."

A recently compiled list shows the most wanted criminals in the district. The officers hope people will turn in these repeat offenders, but their real goal is to go after the kids who live in these neighborhoods. "Before they became gang members," Salazar explained. "They were at risk youth at one point. So, we're doing a lot of investment with the boys and girls club with elementary schools."

Until the criminals are arrested and kids have better options, Nguyet is taking every precaution she can to make sure she's not a victim again. "Sometimes if they are last customer here," Nguyet explained. "They wait for me to clean up, and then they walk me out."

Related Topics:
fresnofresno police departmentcrimegang violenceFresno - Southeast
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