Murder rate in Fresno up as gun violence continues to climb

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Four people have been murdered in Fresno just this week, two of those on Wednesday night. The Fresno Police Department said so far there have been 37 murders in Fresno this year, just two away from reaching the total number for all of last year-- 39.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said of this year's murders, at least 20 of them involved gang members.

"There are a lot of reasons we're seeing an increase of violence, methamphetamine, human trafficking, the desire to establish yourself as a gang leader within our community."

And Dyer has already put strategies in place for his officers to tackle this trend.

"This summer we're going to be utilizing a significant amount of overtime so that we can increase the presence of officers in those particular areas for the purpose of deterring any type of violence."

Before Wednesday night's shootings, police said they have cleared 59-percent of their homicide cases this year, but innocent lives are still being lost. Dyer said he needs the community's help in identifying suspects so they can solve cases before these numbers get any higher.

"We know what the city of Fresno looked like back in the 90's when there was a significant amount of violence in our city and murders, but we do not want to ever return to that place again."

The police department wants to remind people who might be afraid to come forward, you can report a tip anonymously, and sometimes receive a financial reward.

"We're going to reverse this trend, I am confident of that, but it is going to take a lot of work and a lot of cooperation," said Dyer.
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