FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — This weekend will mark one month since Fresno police launched an all-out blitz on gang violence.
There have been 52 homicides so far in 2021 compared to 27 at this point in 2020. The police department said the majority are gang-related.
Chief Paco Balderrama gave an update on the efforts Friday.
So far officers have recovered 63 firearms, made 154 felony arrests and 254 misdemeanor arrests
Sgt. Ignacio Ruiz said the mission is simple. “It’s about gangsters and guns,” he said.
During a ride-along officers stopped a car Ruiz said contained a gang member who was hiding his identity by using a family member’s identification. Investigators say there were also opened bottles of alcohol and two small children inside.
The traffic stop ended in an arrest.
Ruiz said the department is focused on being visible and being proactive and have restructured their patrols with all available resources focused on gang violence.
“The difference is now we have three MAGEC teams, you have two gang suppression teams, we have the motors directed towards this,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz said the increased presence stops crimes before they’re committed.
“When you’re there and you have an officer there at the right time you can prevent a shooting and you wouldn’t even know about it,” he said.
Right now there are roughly 22,000 known gang members in Fresno, and only about 800 officers, but Ruiz said they’re dedicated to making the city a safer place.
“We’re not going to stop. We’re not going to let up. We’re not going to tolerate gang violence in the city of Fresno. We’re just not going to do that,” he said.
The operation began on August 5 there is no set end date.