FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The Fresno Police department is gearing up to launch an all-out blitz on violent crime, with a new operation and tactics starting this weekend.
The number of shootings continued to rise Friday, just days after Chief Paco Balderrama announced the crackdown.
“We cannot put up with this anymore,” he said at a press conference.
On Friday, a 19-year-old man was shot at least once in the upper abdomen. It happened in broad daylight around 1130 a.m. in the area of Mariposa and Mayor.
Police said ShotSpotter picked up eight rounds fired, but there may have been more.
“It’s unknown how many rounds were still being fired, detectives are attempting to determine that, so we don’t know exactly how many were fired,” Sgt. Diana Trueba-Vega said.
Less than 24-hours earlier two men were wounded in the area of Barcus and Shaw.
“Both received injuries consistent with gunshot wounds to their upper bodies,” Lt. Skye Leibee said.
Balderrama cited zero-dollar bail, last year’s push to defund the police, and a shortage of officers as some of the reasons crime is spiking.
The city’s most recent homicide came less than a week ago, number 45, which is just over double what it was at last year.
The operation kicking off this weekend means all the department’s specialized units will be focusing on violent crime. Balderrama is hoping to increase response time and better utilize officer intel. He believes it will work, but with an already understaffed department, there may be a cost.
“When we overly focus on violent crime we will draw the numbers down. The shootings will go down, the homicides will go down, we will put a lot of people in jail, but we’re probably going to suffer in other areas,” he said.
Police said the vast majority of the shootings are gang-related.
Detectives are still investigating the most recent incident, and have no suspect information. They said it can be hard to get the answers they need to make any arrests.
“It’s understandable that people might be fearful to come forward but we want to encourage them to call because we do have avenues where they can remain anonymous,” Trueba-Vega said.
Police said the operation will involve the departments MAGEC units which focus on gangs; there is no set end date.