GRESHAM, Ore. -- Gresham Police say they’re trying relatively new techniques to combat local gang issues.
The department heads up the East Metro Gang Enforcement Team which includes deputies from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and police officers from other nearby departments.
Local authorities have been investigating the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old over the weekend. Gresham Police said the killing had gang ties, but came about as the result of a problem between the victim and one of the suspects.
“But it's not necessarily in furtherance of a gang cause,” said Captain Claudio Grandjean with Gresham police.
While authorities across the Portland Metro area dealt with a handful of gang-related crimes over the last week, Gresham police said that cases handled by the East Metro gang team have remained steady compared to last year. Between January and June of 2016, the team handled 44 gang-related cases. During that same time span in 2017, the team dealt with 37 cases. “In other words, it’s not a significant statistical change from this year to last year in terms of our gang activity,” said Grandjean.
Grandjean said that the gang team has recently partnered with local outreach programs in an effort to tackle the gang problems. Those groups include outreach workers, staff at Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, and Latino Network.
“The prevention, the intervention, the suppression, do all those things together,” Grandjean said. The groups meet once a month to discuss trends and solve problems.
“The gang problem has existed in Gresham for a while, and we’re aware of it,” said Grandjean. “What’s changed is both our efforts. Not just as a police department, but citywide.”