SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – John Newman says his South Sacramento neighborhood has changed a lot in 28 years, and not for the better.
Gang crime is a major problem.
“We were having a lot of problems with stolen cars pulled over here,” said Newman.
Now, using an $11 million federal grant, the biggest in the country, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department has formed a task force unlike any other they’ve had before.
“It enabled us to form the Impact Division,” said Captain Eric Manus, Impact division Commander. “Something we’ve never had, and certainly gives us the opportunity to address the youth gang problem.”
Twenty-eight sheriff’s deputies are assigned fulltime to the Impact Division.
“We’ve never had a dedicated group of officers who’s sole mission is to make a difference in the life of a child,” said Manus.
Besides making arrests, the division is also reaching out to churches, schools, and community groups, to try and keep kids from joining gangs. Which is something people in the community support.
“To commit resources to that part of the problem is appreciated,” said supporter Ken Thomas.
So far there are signs it’s working. In four months the division has confiscated 125 illegal guns and there have been no gang related deaths in unincorporated Sacramento County, compared to 9 last year. Proof enough for Newman that the task force is a good idea.
“If you don’t get them now, when they get a little older, it’s just gonna get worse,” said Newman.