Syracuse gang crackdown update
In a report to the community, law enforcers updated efforts at cracking down on gang violence in Syracuse on Monday morning.
Operation Salt City ran between May and early September, and resulted in the arrests of 248---124 reportedly gang members. In addition, 22 firearms and more than $237-thousand dollars. In addition, illegal drugs with a street value of over $44-thousand were recovered: 70 grams of heroin, 266 grams of cocaine and 723 grams of marijuana.
The violent crime crackdown was a joint effort by Syracuse Police, NY State Police and the U S Marshall's office, and Police Chief Frank Fowler says that even though this effort is done, 'we can't afford to stop our efforts to fund another successful program like this.'
Also at this morning's news conference, Syracuse-area Congressman John Katko (R-24th District), who promises to look for funding for ongoing violence crackdown programs. Katko also points out that it's going to take more than the crime fighting effort to get rid of the gang problem: 'when you have a 50% graduation rate in high school in the city of Syracuse you're going to have problems." The Congressman pledges to work on better school numbers, as well as fighting poverty and hunger.
Chief Fowler agrees that more attention needs to be paid to the 'front end.' Where we're missing the mark, he says, is with 6 to 16 year olds....too young for his department to deal with. He says it's these youngsters who make the decisions to pick up a gun and commit violent acts, and 'if we don't dedicate resources on the front end of it, we're gonna continue to have this problem.'
Congressman Katko is doing an assessment of community resources in the area: Tuesday morning he visits First English Lutheran Church on Syracuse's North Side, which has several anti-poverty initiatives, that could be incorporated into larger programs.
'If we don't dedicate problems on the front end,' says Chief Fowler, 'we're gonna continue to have this problem.'
NOTE: To see the FULL map of gang territories, click on the small map (below the large one) in the image gallery