FRESNO, Calif. - Despite a fairly violent couple of weeks in Fresno, police chief Jerry Dyer said Wednesday violent crime in the city overall is down.
At this point last year, Fresno only had 17 homicides. So far in 2017, there have been 31 – an 82.4 percent increase. Just from Memorial Day weekend to June 14, six people have died in the city due to gun violence.
While there's a huge increase with homicides, there's been decreases in other violent crimes like rapes and robberies. That's resulted in a 9.9 percent decrease in violent crimes.
Dyer thanks communities in crime-ridden neighborhoods for the decrease. He said they're more willing to help get the criminals caught.
"That is very unique because over the years there's been a reluctance from community members to provide information to our officers [in the past]," he said.
Besides increased presence, police have also been doing more to show investment in communities. One way they did that was in May, when they took kids from southwest Fresno to Black Beard's.
"Every day our officers are in some type of positive engagement with our community members. It's paying big dividends in terms of information being provided to us," Dyer said.
It's one of the factors helping convict more violent criminals and putting them behind bars. Doing that leaves less room for possible retaliation, which reduces the number of violent crime.
"[Police have been] targeting those individuals that we know are believed to have guns. Those are the ways we can prevent violence, shootings and murders," Dyer said.
Much of this year's violence has been attributed to gang, according to police. The last 28 days there have been 35 shootings in Fresno, and 18 of them are confirmed to be gang-related.