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Updating citizens on efforts to combat gang violence

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Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:00 am

I wanted to take a few moments to reintroduce myself and give everyone an update on the Lodi Police Department's recent efforts in combating the gang violence that has affected our city over the last year.

I was recently assigned as the supervisor to our Special Investigations Unit, which focuses on gang, narcotics and vice crimes. I was fortunate to work in this unit for five years as a detective in the early 2000s, and I am excited to be a part of the unit again.

As many of you have noticed, the gang crime in our city was starting to affect more than just the traditional hang-outs of gang members, such as Hale Park. As recently as last month, there was a gang-related stabbing at the Grape Festival, and three juveniles were arrested as a result.

So what has the police department been doing?

Through coordinated efforts with juvenile probation, outside law enforcement agencies and community partners, we have identified a number of areas for our enforcement and prevention efforts. In addition, the city was awarded a CalGRIP grant for calendar years 2012-13. This grant has allowed us to increase our suppression efforts and to focus on prevention and intervention techniques.

Our school resource officers continue to teach the Gang Resistance and Education Training program at LUSD middle schools in an effort to teach good decision-making and deter youths from joining gangs.

The Special Investigations Unit, patrol officers and a newly formed uniformed gang officer unit have increased their suppression efforts using a variety of methods that we can't share here, because gang members may be reading. We have also partnered with several community-based organizations that specialize in family and individual counseling, and education initiatives such as "Project Learn."

Two youth outreach workers with years of experience were also hired by the city to reach out to at-risk youths in need of mentoring.

As a result of our efforts, gang-related crime has decreased by 51 percent over the last 12 months.

So what can we do to continue this success or even improve it? The city has recently applied for an additional CalGRIP grant that will allow us to enhance our current efforts and create new prevention programs.

We also need you to continue to report crimes or suspicious activity to the police department. You can do so by calling LPD for emergencies or by calling the Lodi Area Crime Stoppers and remaining anonymous.

With your help we can continue our recent success and send a message to the gang members in Lodi who attempt to threaten our community's safety.

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