Taking illegal weapons off Fresno streets

FRESNO, Calif.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer says there has been a twenty percent increase in shootings so far this year compared to last year.

A majority of those shootings have been gang related, so the department is beefing up its efforts to take guns away from wanted criminals.

Kim Robinson has lived at the Summer Crest apartments in Southwest Fresno for years, but the increased gang presence has her fearing for her family's life.

Robinson said, "Those bullets raced through her apartment back there, went through the door, went through everywhere."

Robinson was describing a drive-by shooting several months ago that sent a bullet flying through her window, almost striking her child.

On Sunday night, Fresno Police arrested four gang members at the apartment complex for possessing three loaded firearms, including a tech-9.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "When those rounds are fired in a neighborhood, often times unintended targets get hurt."

Chief Dyer says there has been a 20 percent increase in shootings this year, compared to this time last year. 141 of the 234 shootings were gang related. The rise is making the department step up its efforts to get guns off the street.

Describing these efforts, Chief Dyer said, "We're making more traffic stops, we're searching more people, and when we do that, you're going to find guns in the hands of people that shouldn't have those guns."

On Sunday night, officers also arrested Nhia Vang, 27, at a traffic stop in South East Fresno. Police say Vang was in possession of a 9mm handgun with a blacked out serial number, and a high-capacity magazine.

Chief Dyer said, "Our officers are seizing five to six firearms every night in our city and getting those guns off of our streets and out of the hands of these gang members ultimately is going to make our community safer."

And residents are hoping the streets become that much safer.

"Lesser shootings, lesser killing, lesser families, grieving, it's time to break the cycle," Chief Dyer said. "Somebody's got to break the cycle."

Aside from making more traffic stops and searching parolees , Chief Dyer is asking the community to get involved and call police if you suspect someone of possessing an illegal fire arm.

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