Violence rising in Fresno, one former gang member says seclusion is making things worse

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) – City figures show shootings and crime are on the rise in Fresno, and the police department says there is an uptick this year compared to 2019.

In September alone, there have been 12 murders in Fresno.

Fresno Police tell us they want to work with the community, especially the neighborhoods impacted by the shootings, adding that it’s going to take work from both sides to combat the violence.

So far this year, over 500 shootings were recorded in Fresno, 216 considered gang-related. This time last year there were 258 shootings, 112 considered gang-related. In fact, the total number of shootings in 2019 was 373, meaning 2020 has already exceeded the previous year’s figure.

“We want to collaborate with the community. We want to be cohesive with the community and to do that as we come together, and I think those talks have been in the works and I think we’re all coming to the same realization that something has to be done to combat this violence,” said Lt. Larry Bowlan.

Former gang member Shawn Robinson agrees. He is now working with children as young as 4-years-old to lead them down a better path.

“I believe working with law enforcement the right way, we can accomplish a lot,” said Robinson.

When COVID-19 struck Fresno County earlier this year, the state issued the ‘Zero Dollar Bail’ order. It expired on June 20 – when Fresno County presiding Judge Arlan Harrell implemented a new order which took effect the same day.

Since then, 726 people have been released under the new Fresno County order, several on gun-related charges.

Robinson believes a lot of Fresno gang members currently have nothing to do.

“People are secluded, tempers are rising, and crime is going to elevate. Officers, I believe, are doing the best they can. I mean, there’s so much going on in our city, they can’t be everywhere.”

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