Friday , June 21 2024

Police Grant To Fund Gang Prevention Programs

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<p>There have been nearly 300 shootings in Fresno since the first of the year. More than half of them have been gang related.</p><p>But city officials hope to combat those numbers with the help of a new 1.5 million dollar grant.</p><p>This is the seventh time the Fresno Police Department has received this grant. It not only enhances existing gang prevention programs, but it will also add technology the city has never seen before. </p><p>For Marco Ocna, growing up in Fresno meant a childhood of gang influences.</p><p>&quot;I come from a community where easily going outside my door, I am offered drugs,&quot; Ocna said. </p><p>But it was the influence of his younger brother that helped Ocna say no. </p><p>&quot;He means the world to me, and I don’t want to be a failure in his eyes. Because I grew up without a father figure, him seeing me graduate from high school meant that he could do it too,&quot; Ocna said. </p><p>But Ocna had help as well.</p><p>&quot;A lot of times for our young folks who are joining gangs, it’s because they have no other alternatives, so this is an alternative for those young people,&quot; Executive Director of Fresno Barrios Unidos Socorro Santilla said. </p><p>Santilla with the El Joven Noble Program at Fresno Barrios Unidos is just one of many people helping with gang prevention.. And thanks to the Fresno Police Department’s CalGRIP Grant, the program will stay open another year. </p><p>&quot;The war on gangs will never be won. It must be continually fought, and we fight it on two fronts: the enforcement side and the prevention and intervention side,&quot; Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.&nbsp; </p><p>Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the grant is also paving the way for new crime fighting technology.</p><p>&quot;It also allows us to take advantage of new technology which is Shot Spotter, gunshot detection within the city of Fresno,&quot; Dyer said.&nbsp; </p><p>Still months in the making, officers will soon receive real time notifications each time a gunshot goes off in the city.</p><p>&quot;As well as determine how many shots were fired, direction of travel, the speed the suspects are driving at in terms of driving away, as well as have that accurate data for the purpose of prosecution,&quot; Dyer said.&nbsp; </p><p>All with the goal of keeping Fresno’s streets safer and changing lives like Ocna’s. </p><p>&quot;El Joven Noble has helped me. It gave me skills I didn’t know,&quot; Ocna said. </p><p>Chief Dyer said they hope to have the Shot Spotter program in place by May of next year. This year’s grant will also help fund the El Joven Noble program for two more years. </p></div>

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