Police keep tabs on gangs
by Joel Danoy / Tracy Press
Jan 20, 2012 | 9959 views | 14 14 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Increased enforcement by Tracy Police Department in 2011 led to greater contact and higher documentation of gang members in the city, according to a police report.

Lt. Greg Farmanian of the Tracy Police Department presented a report that details the progress of the violent crime and gang suppression to the City Council at its Tuesday, Jan. 17, meeting.

Farmanian said there are 802 gang members who have been identified in Tracy, an increase from 750 in May, he said. Of those identified, 588 are Tracy residents. A breakdown shows 601 Norteños and 120 Sureños.

Farmanian said the rise in documented members was expected because of the increased enforcement efforts. But the report also noted that identified gang members can remain on the list for five years with no repeat contact, so the count is not necessarily a point-in-time snapshot of gang numbers in the city.

Assaults declined from the third to the fourth quarter in 2011, police reported, as aggravated assault dropped from 21 to 12 and simple assaults fell from 109 to 105. Operation Gateway during the summer netted 31 gang member arrests, a big reason those numbers fell, Farmanian said.

“That’s the pattern we wanted to see, (a) decrease like that,” he said.

However, there were still more assaults in the fourth quarter of 2011 than in the fourth quarter of 2010, when eight aggravated assaults and 97 simple assaults were reported.

“We had a spike in November (2011) that we put extra manpower toward,” Farmanian said.

Under the gang plan, a six-officer team works in pairs to patrol gang-related areas from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week on a one-year-rotation. Working the streets is one of the most important aspects of gang prevention, Farmanian said.

In 2011, more than 78 percent of contact between gang members and police was initiated by officers — with more than 70 percent of that contact resulting in arrests, Farmanian told the council.

“It’s critical that we’re out on the streets,” he said.

Gang unit officers also give gang prevention presentations to school students, juveniles on probation and the community in hopes of raising awareness against joining gangs.

The Tracy Police Department also continues to work with surrounding

police agencies to track regional gang members as they move between communities. The department uses CalGangs — a database to track gang members — but has difficulty getting similar efforts from other departments.

Farmanian told Councilman Steve Abercrombie that Tracy works with the Hayward Police Department to prevent transient crime from the Bay Area.

“We’ve been trying to work at the county level to get some meetings, but nothing is happening,” he said.

Police Chief Gary Hampton said the recent reorganization of his department has enhanced the gang initiative.

While gang prevention will be the department’s top priority in 2012, Hampton said property crimes account for 93 percent of reported crime, and he vowed to aggressively target those crimes that “really impact our quality of life.”

In other discussions, the council:

• Voted unanimously to authorize city staff to draft language that would amend zoning ordinances to allow private schools to have street-side signs. Public schools are already exempt from the ordinance. If approved, signs would be authorized for schools on more than 1 acre, including free-standing signs and those with a scrolling message.

• Unanimously approved the allocation of $113,000 to cover salary increases resulting from reclassification of city staff. The money would support eight positions in five departments. City staffers said the costs are offset by the nearly $7 million saved by staff cuts since 2009 and are necessary to reflect increased responsibilities taken on by those eight workers.
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January 22, 2012
Yes, I am happy to read this on our gangbanger problems. I'm hoping the city police and the chief's leadership will keep the gangs off guard and make them uncomfortable just like they made us feel. GOOD JOB CHIEF!
January 21, 2012
Well, it appears the new gang strategy is working. It's about time things began to turn around. And to think, all we needed was a Police Chief with knowledge of how to develop a strategy and then put it in place. Way to go Chief Hampton...

It also appears that the TPD has been working in the schools for quite some time trying to impact gang activity, which means people like Captain Espinoza aren't the only ones from the TPD putting in time in the schools.

Finally; It's clear Chief Hampton has a good idea of what he's doing, unlike the last police chief. His reorganizing the Department has improved morale, and helped impact the number of assaults in Tracy.

It's to bad we lost almost three years of possible progress on the crime problem.

January 23, 2012
Progress with crime abatement in this country, and in this city, hasn’t been lost. Reported crime merely rises and falls (yes, we do see honest declines from time to time). Stockton set a murder record. Oakland exceeded 110 homicides last year. Gang presence in this city has increased. The benighted souls continue to out-breed the moderate ones 3 to 1. Our idea of community is about greater taxation so city and state governments can dictate our nourishment and edification. Our social and institutional paradigms are skewed.
January 29, 2012
"Finally; It's clear Chief Hampton has a good idea of what he's doing, unlike the last police chief."

Did Bill Gates write in his final letter to Steve Jobs, "You lost you idiot, go to hell?"? No, absolutely not. Wipe the snot off your face and grow up.

If you want to know what the last police chief was responsible for it was the gang sweeps. Hello. Earth to Tommy.
January 21, 2012
Sounds like a lot of hard work is paying off by our department...nice job!

If the same effort is used in the direction of property crimes, we should soon see a reduction of that also. Great job to Lt Farmanian and the rest of the department...now if we can get rid of comments like the first few and some serious support for the officers, we might do better.
January 20, 2012
Seems to me that the solutio is very easy. 802 bullets shouldn't cost too much.
January 20, 2012
Maybe, but it has occurred to me that 802 prayers would cost a lot less money and yes certainly would take some of our time. Wanna guess which would have the better outcome?
January 21, 2012
802 X 3 = 2 to the chest & 1 to the head.
January 22, 2012
The last time I checked we had freedom of religion in this country. Also...the last time I checked, we had freedom of speech but there's always that one idiot who criticizes others for their belief. The 1st Amendment gives that idiot the right to voice their opinion but let's do it in an intellectual manner.
January 23, 2012
@stopthecycle: I'll pray. That God has mercy on their souls.

See the thing is, that while prayer might work nice-and-dandy for folks with common decency like you and I, well these gangbangers, they would have a few choice expletives to tell you if you offered to pray for them. As I once told an ex-gf of mine, who would always say "bless his heart," "People are beautifu" etc, is that some people just suck, and are a drain on our society, and we'd be the better off without them.

I will pray for you that you survive despite your naivety.
January 23, 2012
Thank you "againstallodds" ... your comment was wonderful!!

On the other hand, I feel sorry for people like amlee1978 ..... how sad is your life?

I'll guarantee you your life would be much better with prayer. And yes amlee.... I will even pray for people like you now, as you are one of the people who need it the most.

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