The streets of Sacramento are claiming fewer young people, says the Sacramento Bee. Fewer Sacramento County teenagers have been slain in 2008 than in any year going back at least a decade. In Sacramento and the neighborhoods of Sacramento County patrolled by the Sheriff’s Department, the drop may be the residual effect of increased prevention efforts and a shift toward more aggressive anti-gang tactics used by law enforcement, officials said. “We’re doing something right, and I think it’s not just one thing,” Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel said.
While authorities said the numbers may be an indication that prevention and enforcement efforts are taking hold, those working on the street – the gang investigators and the youth counselors – caution that the region’s gang population is growing and that there is much work to be done. “Don’t close your eyes, because it’s not going away,” said Sgt. Randy Yen, the supervisor of the sheriff’s gang unit. Investigators have expanded over the past two years their techniques in battling street gangs. Many investigations into gang shootings formerly ended with the lead suspect’s arrest. Now, officers responding to gang shootings gather information on witnesses, victims and friends on both sides.