Following his monthly Crime View Meeting, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer met with the press Wednesday to highlight an overall decline in both violent and property crime despite a massive rise in murders from 2016 to 2017.

Dyer cited a 9.9 percent drop in violent crime from this time last year, with rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults seeing drops of 7.7, 10.3, and 11.6 percent, respectively. Total property crime has declined by four percent, he said.

But despite the trend toward less overall violence, Fresno has seen a massive 82.4 percent rise in murders from 2016 to 2017, Dyer announced. While not always easily classified, he suggested that an increase in gang activity has been to blame for much of the jump.

In response, Dyer outlined the heightened approach Fresno PD has taken in dealing with gang-related activities. Following an especially deadly Memorial Day weekend, Dyer explained the department’s plan of action.

“[We deployed] officers in a gang operation. That operation, in southwest [Fresno] alone, netted 61 gang members being arrested and five guns being seized,” Dyer said.

Along with their own response, Dyer said that the department requested the public step up their efforts.

“I’m proud to say that they have,” he said, “I believe members of our community are really doing everything that they can to suppress gang violence.”

Dyer attributed the decline in violence over the past few days to both the department’s efforts and the community’s positive response.

By “providing information to detectives and officers regarding crimes that are occurring within their neighborhoods,” Dyer said that Fresno residents are participating in something “unique.”

“Something is definitely changing, and it’s changing for the good,” he stated.

Before concluding the report, Dyer shifted his focus back to statistics by presenting Fresno’s vastly improved auto theft numbers. Citing the nation-leading auto theft rate of the past, Dyer proceeded to describe a much brighter picture for Fresno’s rates today.

“I’m happy to say that this year, we are on pace to have under 3,000 cars stolen in our city, which has only occurred one other time in the past 30 years,” said Dyer, explaining the significant accomplishment.

Dyer also spoke of the number of auto thefts at last Tuesday’s city budget hearing. He credited a majority of the decline to a five-bed rental agreement with the county prison. Fresno PD uses these beds almost exclusively to house known, prolific car thieves. As a result of taking these top criminals off the street, rates of theft have fallen drastically.

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