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Fresno Police: Guns, gang crackdown is paying off; Proposition 57 is not paying off

Fresno Police displayed some of the 95 guns recovered so far in January of 2018. The department launched an intensified crackdown focusing on gangs and guns after the first of the year.

Fresno Police say a crackdown on crime in the new year is paying off.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Monday violent crime is down 15.2%.

Shootings are also down, 33 this year compared to 51 last year at the same time.

One big reason: more guns are being taken off the streets.

"I haven’t seen this level of effort in so many years,” Dyer said.

Officers with the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium, or MAGEC, have recovered more than 90 guns so far—that’s on top of another 200 taken from one man alone last week.

Most of the seized guns were on display across two tables—a Mack 10, an AR-15 pistol, sawed-off shotguns.

One had been reported stolen in San Jose in the 1990’s.

Many of those guns are traced back to gang members.

And Dyer says often times, the same gun will be used by different gang members to carry out crimes.

"Too frequently do we have gang members driving around our city, armed without a fear of being stopped, arrested, prosecuted. We know they do not value life. It is our job to remove those people from our streets," Dyer said.

He and others fear these victories could be harder to come by as more people are up for early release from state prisons under Proposition 57.

Voters passed the measure in November of 2016, allowing for the release of inmates who committed so-called “non-violent” offenses.

"We have a weak legislature, weak governor who has allowed these laws to be passed. And we have an uninformed voter population in California that has also supported some very weak laws,” Dyer said. “It has made the job of a police officer that much more difficult."

So far, the California Parole board has granted early release to 25 inmates from Fresno County under Proposition 57.

Many more releases are expected.

"They are dangerous and violent, despite propaganda from Sacramento and our Governor and this is the result," says Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp.

“Anytime you combine criminal justice reform with saving money, you’re costing lives," says Dyer.

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