Homicides down by nearly 50 percent in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Homicides are down this year nearly 50 percent in Fresno. Officers say the reason is a plan they made late last year to decrease the numbers.

Officers say the major reduction is the result of several tactics they used throughout 2018.

Fresno Police officers were called out to 56 homicides in 2017- but this year, with only a few days left in 2018, only 32 homicides have been reported. It's a 43 percent decrease year over year.

"We've seen a 32 percent, over a 32 percent reduction in shootings in our city which certainly correlates right to our homicide numbers," said Lt. Mark Hudson of the Fresno Police Department.

At the end of last year- the police chief set a goal to reduce the number of shootings by 20 percent. The idea was that it would in turn, drive down the murder rate. It has worked. In 2018, officers did more proactive patrols, and had specialty teams zero in on gang members with guns.

Police also relied heavily on high tech tools to help them detect crime faster and analyze bullets quicker.

"Also using technology. We're looking at things like Shotspotter to help us with our investigations, NIBIN, to help us identify the gun that did the shooting when we find shell casings and those things- those are the ways we are starting to see these numbers come down," Hudson added.

This year 11 homicides were investigated in southeast Fresno, seven in southwest. Northwest had six and both northeast and central had four. Officers say one big accomplishment was the number of cases solved and moving through the justice system.

"All of the cases we've sent to the DA's office this year related to a homicide, they've accepted. We've had a 90 percent clearance rate in homicides that have occurred this year," said Hudson.

Another important focus in reducing shootings has been getting officers more immersed in neighborhoods, building trust one person at a time. Officers hope their more personalized work with youth will prompt positive decision making and prevent some of the younger kids from joining a gang or getting involved in drugs.

Officers say the community is also playing a bigger role in helping them solve crime through tips to Crimestoppers and also sites like Facebook and other neighborhood related apps like Next Door.
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