Yakima Police Working To Reduce Gang Crime
Yakima Police say 2017 was a violent year in Yakima when 12 murders were reported and police say many of the crimes committed were tied to local gangs. But this year police say gang crime is down and gang shootings so far this summer have been limited to two drive by shootings. Sgt. David Cortez says they've been gathering intelligence on local gangs and using that information to make arrests by targeting specific gang members.
"And so when officers come across gang members they're able to take some kind of enforcement action based on the gang members criminal history. Many have warrants."
And Cortez says that type of pressure on local gangs is having an impact. He says it's cutting gang crime and forcing many gang members to leave the area. Cortez says as a result of the arrests many of the major gang members who committed violent crimes last year are now in jail or are no longer in the area.
He says along with the local pressure the department is also working with federal authorities to bring charges that carry federal prison terms.
6 homicides have been reported so far this year.
Cortez says currently about 700 gang members live in Yakima.