Benton County Sheriff Releases Gang Unit Report

<p>Benton County Sheriff's Office</p>

Benton County Sheriff's Office

The Benton County Sheriff's Gang Unit Reports 2012 Year End Statistics.

Here is their official press release:

The Benton County Sheriff’s Gang Unit has reported significant progress in their development and impact in our community over the last year.  In addition to developing the proficiency of their team, they’ve also welded solid bonds with teams and officers of surrounding agencies and counties to assist in alleviating some of the gang issues plaguing our area.

Intelligence - Continuing to work closely with numerous LE partners with information/intelligence sharing.  The Sheriff’s Office as a whole is getting into a rhythm on effectively documenting gang members/associates and gang related calls for service and contacts.

* 136 new gang documentation forms completed

    ~41 in 2011

* Responded to 146 gang related calls for service or contacts

   ~124 in 2011

* Attended gang meetings for the Tri-Cities and Yakima County areas to continue intelligence and information sharing

* Fostered collaboration with Corrections STG (Security Threat Group) officers.  STG Corrections             officers monitor and document gang activity within the Benton County Jail.

Public Education- Gang Presentations

 Conducted several presentations in 2012 to schools and community groups.

Formed strong partnership with FIRME gang outreach program in 2012 and attended community functions together.

Suppression - Emphasis has been on the criminally active gang members within our jurisdiction. We continue to look for and arrest gang members with warrants and pursue relentless investigations on gang related calls for service and crimes.

 Highlights:

48 search warrants executed

91 felony charges

282 misdemeanor charges

321 arrest warrants cleared

191 persons incarcerated

Seized 18 dangerous weapons

14 firearms

3 knives

1 brass knuckles

Graffiti:

17 graffiti reports for 2012.

Reduced graffiti by 58% compared to 2011.

Conduct graffiti checks several times every week at graffiti prone areas.

Narcotics

351.7 grams of Methamphetamine

573.1 grams of Marijuana

9.3 grams of Cocaine

134 various illegally possessed prescription pills

Seized several vehicles and nearly $10,000 in cash that were profits from drug dealing.

Made 49 home visits to gang member houses

Further information/trends.

Cooperation and information sharing between the regional law enforcement agencies has had a positive impact on gang suppression strategies.  Many of the most active and violent gang members are now in jail.  There is a very noticeable decrease in gang violence, in particular in the lower Yakima Valley.  The gang suppression strategies in the lower Yakima Valley and in the Tri-Cities area have made an impact on gangs in 2012.

We know that gang members are responsible for a good portion of stolen vehicles in our area.  This year, half of the persons arrested by the Sheriff’s Office for possession of a stolen vehicle are gang related.  Through training and collaboration with other local law enforcement agencies, we are paying more attention to this crime.  In 2012, the Gang Unit has located several occupied stolen vehicles and all suspects arrested were gang related.  We have also processed 3 chop shops that resulted in arrests.  In 2012, the number of stolen vehicles in Benton County was down by 40%.