Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City police noticed a real increase in gang activity in the area of N.E. 23rd and Martin Luther King. So much so, they decided to saturate the area in order to make a big impact.
The sight of a police car cruising down the street has become a common occurrence in Queen Esther Berry's northeast Oklahoma City neighborhood.
She's lived there more than 40 years and said she's used to hearing gunshots in the area.
"They down here, down there, across the street," Berry said.
She has a wrought iron gate around her porch for added protection, and is thankful for the added police presence.
"Yes I am. Whenever I look and see one, I say ‘Thank you, Jesus, that they coming and checking on us,'" she said.
Over at the Springlake Division, officers are going over their latest crime stats, looking at every robbery, every burglary, and every assault.
A lot of the trouble they see is gang related. And this meeting of the minds revealed what has worked in infiltrating that gang activity and what has not.
They discovered there was a real spike in gang related crime in the Springlake area during the months of March, April, May and June, so they decided to do something about it. They dedicated extra officers to patrol the area and talk to people living in these neighborhoods known for being hotspots of gang activity.
Oklahoma City Police Captain Pat Byrne said, "We saturated that area for a period of two weeks."
They put more than 30 officers on the street one day and managed to make a real dent in the problem.
"We think we made a difference because the numbers are down which is ultimately what we are trying to do to get the crime back down," Byrne said.
And Queen Esther Berry, for one, is glad. "I sleep sounder now knowing they're coming by. I sleep sound now."
As a result of that sweep, officers arrested more than 30 known and suspected gang members. They were also able to remove a number of weapons from the streets as well.
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