Gang Crackdown in Fresno Aims to Quell Violence

FRESNO, Calif.

"Right now we're getting word that yes even the gang members are arming up, not for the police, not to go do more violence, but basically they are scared. They know the other gangs are out there and they are apprehensive," said Lt. Doyle.

Police hope that by saturating gang areas, the violence will simmer down. Residents of Southwest Fresno attending a city council candidates forum generally appreciate the police effort.

Longtime resident Clara Smith told us, "I think the chief of Police is doing a good job. Chief Dyer is doing a good job. "

But many like Lula Tucker want the city to do more. "You got people out there doing things for a reason. It's survival. It's survival of the fittest. In other words we need to get the job markets going. We need to put things in place that will prevent somebody from feeling like they need to kill somebody for a piece of land, or for this corner," said Smith.

Beatrice Johnson believes jobs are the answer to crime, not police. "I don't think they can do that much about the crime situation. It's the jobs ... I guess if they helped get more jobs in West Fresno that would help the crime."

Rose Marin says while adults need jobs, the young people, those most likely to be involved in gang violence need other options. "The kids need to go somewhere they need to do something. They are idled standing around with nowhere to go and nothing to do," said Marin.

While all of the city council candidates at Monday's forum pledged to work to create more jobs, and improve the community, police saturated the area. Ten search warrants were served and at least two firearms, including the Mini 14 were confiscated.

The police surge is the result of a dramatic increase in the city's homicide rate. The latest killings put the death toll this year at 20. That's compared to 11 homicides this time last year.

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