Fresno police take proactive approach to curb increase in homicides, shootings

Chief Paco Balderrama says rivalries that were simmering the last few weeks started to boil over.

Jessica Harrington Image
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
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During this weekend alone, officers made 25 felony arrests, 36 misdemeanor arrests, and recovered 14 guns, including three ghost guns.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Police Department put more officers out on the streets this weekend to crack down on crime.

Chief Paco Balderrama says a recent increase in violence called for a more proactive approach.

"In the last three weeks of July, we've seen an increase in homicides and shootings," Balderrama said.

Starting Friday night, the Fresno Police Department held a three-day operation to crack down on violence.

Chief Paco Balderrama says rivalries that were simmering the last few weeks started to boil over.

"Social media feuds, gang-related disputes, turf wars, lack accountability for criminal behavior and a surplus of high-powered weapons all add to the violence," Balderrama said.

The department used 120 officers for criminal intelligence, hot spot policing, and to create high visibility across the city.

The added enforcement led to 25 felony arrests and 36 misdemeanor arrests.

Fourteen firearms were also taken off the streets, three of which were ghost guns.

"The number of illegal and unregistered firearms is staggering," Balderrama said. "As a police chief, I'm alarmed."

The chief says the city is currently on pace to take more firearms off the street than last year.

Chief Balderrama says victims and witnesses who don't want to cooperate are slowing investigations.

He says police are doing their part to reduce violent crime and the community needs to do its part too.

That's something Pastor Joby Jones does. He is a part of Street Saints and Stop the Violence Fresno, which works on gang prevention and intervention.

He says these programs have an advantage over police work.

"We know that they can't do what we can do - they don't have the relationships that we do," Jones said.

Jones says they work with at-risk kids.

They provide alternative opportunities for them in hopes of keeping them off the streets and reducing violence throughout the city.

"So I think our job is to come along side them and whatever that they're lacking, us help them find that so that they don't go and end up in a situation where all you needed somebody to talk to you and give you the right kind of guidance," Jones said.

Pastor Jones says the community can support their work by donating or volunteering time.

Chief Balderrama says they want to send a message to criminals that they will be held accountable.

The police operation will continue this week and this weekend and, as of now, there isn't an end date.