Crime rate falls in Fresno, but concerns remain

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At the monthly "Crime View" news conference, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer outlined the latest crime trends.

He noted there had been five homicides in Fresno over the past month.

The latest occurred this week when an immigrant couple was killed in their home by another relative. Dyer notes the suspect is in jail, as are most of the suspects in the other murders.

"Of the five people killed in our city in the past 28 days, we have suspects in four of those in custody."

So far this year there have been 29 homicides, compared to 44 this time last year. But Dyer says shootings remain a concern.

"This year on average we've had one shooting per day in the city of Fresno. 254 days we've had 252 shootings. "

But that is more than one hundred fewer gunshot incidents than last year.

The number of people wounded by gunfire is also down from 168 to 104.

All levels of crime are down by an average of nearly 15 percent.

One of the more unusual crimes committed in the past month involved the robbery of locker rooms at two fitness clubs. Three women from Oakland purchased one day passes to Planet Fitness clubs, but Dyer says they did not plan to work out.

"Once they were in the female locker room, they pulled out bolt cutters that were in their gym bag, and they began to cut locks on the various lockers that were in there."

They stole wallets and keys and got into cars in the parking lots. By the time they got to the third club police were waiting, and they were arrested.

Police Captain Mark Salazar says the other significant crime problems this month were at parks in southwest Fresno, "From Roeding to Dickey to Holmes, little Kearney Park, we have a significant homeless population, a criminal element in that homeless population, they are leaving needles, doing drugs and we have some gang activity as well."

For the next 60 days, more than a dozen additional officers will be patrolling these parks.

For the second month in a row, the theft of vehicle license plates remains a problem. Police say thieves are taking the plates off cars to peel off the registration tags. They are selling the stolen stickers for 25 to 30 dollars. It's estimated 80 plates a month are being taken. Police say the increase in California's vehicle licensing fees is likely motivating the thefts.
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