Citing a rise in violent crime, Fresno police chief Andy Hall announced on Wednesday the formation of a city-wide violent crime suppression task force.
Posting on Facebook, Fresno police said, “In the month of September alone, our community has suffered 104 shooting incidents and 12 murders.” The department pointed to changes in criminal justice policy as the key factor.
“The implementation of $0 bail, state-wide early release from prisons, and revolving doors at our local jail has caused this city’s violent crime to more than double from previous years.” the department’s message said. “This lack of accountability has caused a surge in gang activity in our City.”
The post also noted, “Since $0 bail and early releases were implemented in April, Fresno has seen a 126 % increase in shootings and 55 % increase in murders.”
The department said 80% of the homicides this year have been gang motivated.
Chief Andy Hall announced the formation of a city-wide violent crime suppression task force. “The implementation of $0 bail, state-wide early release from prisons, and revolving doors at our local jail has caused this city’s violent crime to more than double from previous years.” pic.twitter.com/mPgpJpj2YJ
— Jim Patterson (@JimPatterson559) October 7, 2020
Police say they’ll use every tool at their disposal to hold those accountable for violence in the community. This will include high visibility patrols in crime stricken neighborhoods and federal prosecution for specific gun crimes. The post said Hall and District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp have met with state and federal law enforcement partners to coordinated responses.
Reports from local television stations KSEE and KGPE detailed several shootings in the last week:
A man is in critical condition after a shooting in central Fresno Sunday afternoon, according to Fresno police. Authorities say they responded to the area of Ashlan and Marks avenues just before 5:00 p.m. for the call. Witnesses at the scene told police two separate groups exchanged gunfire between each other then fled the area. Shortly after, the California Highway Patrol advised Fresno police there was a victim of a shooting in the area of Highway 99 between Ashlan and Shields avenues.
Police are investigating a drive-by shooting that killed a 46-year-old man in southeast Fresno last Friday night. Authorities say they responded to the area of Barton and Wahington avenues at around 10:00 p.m. for a call of a victim of a shooting. When the officers arrived at the scene they found a dead 46-year-old man lying on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to the head.
Shots were fired after a group of people got into an argument in northwest Fresno Friday afternoon, according to Fresno police. Police say they responded to the Platinum Tire and Wheel tire shop near the area of Bullard and Blackstone avenues at around 5:00 p.m. for a group of people that got into an argument which led to a shooting. No injuries were reported.
‘We’re in the Middle of a Crime Wave’
During a September 24 Fresno City Council meeting, Councilman Luiz Chavez said 600 criminals have been released back into the city since April.
“We’re in the middle of a crime wave, and that is not a term that I use loosely because that’s how it’s being described here in our city,” Chavez said. “And we need to really step up and prioritize public safety.” He said merchants on the Kings Canyon/Ventura corridor have been targeted.
Chavez blamed the state for criminal justice reform promises he says haven’t been kept. Councilman Garry Bredefeld also blamed the state by pointing to $0 bail releases during COVID-19.