Gresham police up patrols after gang killings

Gresham police up patrols after gang killings

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by Jeff Thompson, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 12:37 PM

GRESHAM, Ore. -- A new wave of gang violence has moved into Gresham this year.

Some neighbors told KGW they now fear for their lives, and Gresham police officers said they have stepped up patrols to keep people safe.

Though only six homicides have been reported in the city so far this year, police said the fact that five of those were gang-related is alarming.

Sgt. Bill Smith estimated about 500 gang members are now terrorizing Gresham neighborhoods.

Resident Miranda Brown lives with her son in the Rockwood neighborhood, which has become a hot spot for gang activity. She said she witnessed one of the five homicides.

“I walked to my window, and sure enough, there was this young kid lying out there, bleeding to death,” she said. “Somebody just came through here and shot him in broad daylight.”

“I go in my apartment and I just stay there because I just don't want to be a victim,” said neighbor Mary Dickey.

Another neighbor, Kelsey Rynerson has taken a different approach: She said she now keeps a loaded, very large shotgun in her house.

Sgt. Smith said gang violence has shifted from turf wars to fights over the drug and human trafficking businesses. So even though there are hot spots, the gangs are slowly spreading throughout the Metro area.

“This thing is not going to go away,” he said “It's going to stick around or get worse.”

Gresham police plan to add a police substation in the Rockwood area in the hope of keeping a better eye on the gang activity there.

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KGW reporter Abbey Gibb contributes to this report.

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