FRESNO, Calif. - A major gang sweep has taken dozens of gang members and guns off the streets of Fresno. The goal was to reduce gang-related homicides and shootings in the city.
Over the course of the past three weeks, the Fresno Police Department, with the help of Homeland Security and ATFs have made arrests. On April 11, the first day of the operation, 18-year old Noah Hernandez was apprehended after police said he got into a fight with rival gang members. They said Hernandez had this modified rifle on him.
"We believe, without a doubt, that our officers interrupted a shooting that was getting ready to occur as a result of that disturbance," stated Chief Jerry Dyer.
Dyer said it's time to crack down. The Chief said last year, there was a significant amount of violence in the city - mostly gang related.
He stated, "So, we set forth at the beginning of this year to reduce gang violence with the number one goal of saving lives in our city, far too many people dying at the hands of violence."
Fresno Police teamed up with State and Federal agencies for their operation. Officers flooded the south and central parts of the city. They made 81 arrests, with 38 of the suspects being gang members. They also seized 34 guns. Dyer said many of the suspects who were arrested have prior felony convictions.
Lisa Smittcamp, the Fresno County District Attorney stated, "We will continue to fight. We will continue to collaborate, we will continue to be here to do everything we can to keep our citizens safe."
Dyer said so far this year, gang shootings are down 32-percent. The department credits the lower statistics to gang sweep operations just like the one recently conducted.