Elsewhere: S.F. police round up 28 gang suspects Chron
A citywide police operation targeting about 200 of San Francisco’s most active gang members led to 28 arrests Wednesday, police officials said during a news conference today.
The operation lasted from 6 a.m. to midnight and targeted gang members on parole and probation who were violating the terms of their release.
Various city, state and federal agencies contributed, including the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, California Department of Corrections, San Francisco Gang Task Force, SWAT divisions and officers from all 10 San Francisco district stations.
The Gang Task Force has identified about 700 gang members on active probation or parole, and Wednesday’s operation targeted about 200 of them who police suspected were still involved in criminal activity, police Lt. Jim Miller said.
“We know who these individuals are and we will continue this type of operation,” San Francisco police Chief George Gascon told reporters in the city’s Bayview District today. “We will continue targeting them.”
Officers visited 120 addresses to do compliance checks and found 70 percent of the parolees were out of compliance, Miller said.
Numerous gang members were not living at their registered addresses, and many addresses were actually empty lots or parking lots.
Others had weapons or narcotics at their homes, and six people were arrested and charged with possession of a firearm, Miller said.
Among those arrested was 29-year-old Christopher Byes, who was the subject of a federal indictment in 2005 and spent 4.5 years in prison.
After he was released, he escaped from a halfway house and began reorganizing his former gang called Down Below, Miller said.
Byes was arrested Wednesday in the 100 block of Blythedale Avenue.
Two other gang members, both armed, were arrested there as well.
Other arrests included a 17-year-old with a 9 mm gun, who was arrested in the 900 block of Grove Street, and a member of an Asian gang who was arrested in Daly City.
Kenneth Lau, 34, was on probation and in possession of a handgun, police said.
San Francisco police spokeswoman Lyn Tomioka said the citywide operation is more effective than strategies such as gang injunctions, which only target one gang at certain addresses in the city.
“Obviously when we work with other agencies it’s much more effective,” she said.
San Francisco has thousands of active gang members, according to Lt. Ernie Ferrando, of the city’s gang task force.
They are organized into 12 major gangs and 47 sub-sets, he said.
Gascon acknowledged that there are numerous social and economic factors that drive participation in gangs, and he said the city is working on developing more intervention tools in addition to using police operations to suppress gang activity.
“But for those things to work, the violence cannot be allowed to continue,” he said of the intervention methods. “We’re taking a multi-pronged approach.”