STOCKTON (CBS13) — The Stockton Police Department is on a mission to reduce gun violence around the community. It plans to work more with county, state and federal agencies.
On Thursday, the community saw some of that work; the department wrapped up a three-month-long criminal investigation that included several agencies targeting some of the city’s most violent criminal gangs.
Close to 50 people have been taken off the streets in a special operation that is all part of the police department’s on-going efforts to help keep the community safe.
Police Chief Eric Jones says agencies working together is the key to reduce crime in the city of Stockton.
“All of this is just smarter policing and better use of both data and the word on the street, and that’s really this new territory we are now evolving into,” he said.
Stockton’s gang suppression unit recently teamed up with the San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office, the state’s Department of Justice and the California Highway Patrol to help take down six of south Stockton’s most violent criminal gangs.
“These types of operations, enforcement operations are critically important to our violence reduction strategies, and so we rely upon many things to reduce violence in our community, a lot of them come down to the community itself,” he said.
More than 30 guns, over 30 pounds of drugs and close to 50 gang members are off the streets. The operation is helping make it safe for Stockton families.
“I love it. It’s that much, you know, illegal drugs off the street. Hopefully, people have some time to think and maybe rehab,” said resident Kathleen Gapusan.
According to authorities, individuals arrested in the operation were already prosecuted for gang-related crimes in the past. Many of them, trafficked and compelled others, mostly young people into prostitution, engaged in shootings, and sold large quantities of drugs and weapons.
“We have to start recruiting before the gangs do. You know, the gangs get them at a certain age level, and they are aware of this. We got to get them below that and have to start working on them in schools, at home, because gangs are a generational thing now, and it’s ingrained in many of Stockton, and they don’t know any other way,” she said.
Stockton Police say this type of operation helps move the community in the right direction.
“Our message is we’re going to be relentless on suppressing gun violence on our community,” said Jones.
In addition to the drugs and weapons, officers also seized more than $40,000 and worked side-by-side with officers from surrounding police departments/