Fresno, CA

Crime in Fresno Isn't Going Away

Mark-John Clifford

photo courtesy of ABC 30 Fresno

I want to be the one to tell you that crime in our city of Fresno is going down, but that would be a lie. Everything is going the opposite way, and there is no explanation as of right now.

The new Chief of police Paco Balderrama has his hands full, but he's confident making changes. In an interview with ABC 30 recently, the Chief had this to say, "That if you commit a crime of violence in the city, people are going to call the police. We are going to identify you," said Chief Balderrama. "We are going to find you. We are going to arrest you. We are going to put you in jail. That's the message."


"We have to bring this city back to what it has been in the past," Balderrama said. "You know, just a couple of years ago, we only had 39. That's about average, 40 homicides per year, and we had 74 last year. So we can't put up with that anymore."

I'm not going to get specific about what's been going on in the past few weeks. I covered a little of that in my last post, but more murders, assaults, and carjackings have happened in my adopted hometown since then.

When I moved to California in 2005, I was living in North Shore near the Salton Sea. It was a sleepy, quiet community. The only time you heard gunshots was on New Year's Eve, celebrating the incoming year.

In 2006, I moved to Fresno, and at the time, Fresno seemed pretty quiet compared to the like of New York City and certain cities in Boston where I came from.

Of course, there were gangs and gang-related incidents, but they weren't an everyday occurrence. Things seemed to be acceptable, or so we all thought as members of the community.

It seems what we didn't know at the time was that things were heating up around the city, waiting to explode.

I don't have the facts or figures from back then. I remember reading articles each week, and the numbers of incidents happening in the city were rising, albeit slowly.

Before you know it, 2016 came, and that's when according to the statistics below, things started to heat up even more.

photo courtesy of ABC 30 Fresno

The rise in crime increased, and it included all types of criminal behavior. From murder to assaults. From domestic assaults to child neglect.

It also included investigations and arrests involving carjackings, robberies, drugs, and weapons, both possession and sales.

It seemed to me like we were living in the old west all of a sudden.

Former Chief and now newly elected Mayor Jerry Dyer had this to say, After a 40+ year career in the Fresno Police Department, Jerry Dyer left his post as Chief to lead the city as mayor in 2019. He says since then, violence has surged.

"I can tell you when I left as a police chief of this city; we were averaging about seven shootings per week," he said. "Those numbers more than doubled and, in some cases, tripled."

Present to Future

Where are we now? ABC 30 statistics don't lie and,don't show a promising present right now, and if these figures represent the current crime wave, imagine what's in store for our future living in Fresno.

photo courtesy of ABC 30 Fresno

Is it still safe to live in Fresno with activity like this? I guess it would depend on where you live, although even that's changing.

We live in an area that's been quiet for 2 1/2 years, then the problems to the south of us have gravitated to our peaceful community.

There isn't an evening that goes by when we don't hear gunshots within earshot of our home. There have been evenings when gunshots have caused damage to the model homes directly across the street at a new development.

When I lived in New York or Boston, I was around gunshots close to my home but far enough away not to worry, but lately, these have been too close for comfort, and with grandkids, it makes for an uncomfortable evening when it gets late.

Can we as citizens do anything to help? Not as much as you think. We can call the police when we hear gunshots, as has been recommended to me after a recent incident near our home, but they only can handle so many calls.

At least the police officers I have talked with have been honest about that.

There are not enough police officers on duty to handle the number of calls, nor is there enough funding to add more police officers that we desperately need.

All we can do is hope. We can help as much as possible and keep our heads down, and our children and grandchildren protected when the gunfire erupts.

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Patti, my wife, and I write about life here in Fresno, California, and the Central Valley. We especially enjoy writing reviews about restaurants we've dined at, along with the food that is served. From time to time, we also write about and share recipes that we are fond of and hope you'll try them and let us know your thoughts. We are not traditional food critics. We don't have to worry about restaurants making unique dishes for us. We're just the average customer going in to dine, and then we write reviews.

Fresno, CA

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