Fresno police: Operation helped put a stop to gang retaliation

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Fresno police say a recent gang operation was not only successful in driving down crime, but it can be duplicated at a moment's notice. (KFSN)

Fresno police say a recent gang operation was not only successful in driving down crime, but it can be duplicated at a moment's notice.

On any given night in December, this is what many Fresno residents saw: there were search warrants, arrests, and seizures of drugs and weapons. The chief launched the initiative after a series of violent shootings, including one that killed an innocent 16-year-old.

"We hadn't seen in several years -- it was Asian gangs, African-American gangs and Hispanic gangs," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

The retaliation was so bad that the chief held a press conference to tell his officers to step up their game, and they did.

"We served 81 search warrants, seized 79 firearms, and we made just under 500 felony arrests of gang members during that three-week period," said Dyer.

More than a month later and well after the end of that operation, the chief says the gang shootings have decreased.

"We went from about 11 shootings per week in our city to three shootings per week the last two weeks," said Dyer.

Most of the violent offenders who were arrested are still in custody. As for the ones who have been released, the chief has this to say: "The ones that were put in and perhaps have been released since, we sent a message, and the message was one of displacement, disruption and hopefully sending the message that we're not going to tolerate it."

In the end, the operation cost $80,000 and was paid for by a grant. It's money the chief says was well-spent. And while they may not be out in full force night after night, he says he's ready to repeat the effort -- should there be another spike in violence.

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