Gang numbers down in Lawton

Lawton's gang task force has been around for almost two years and they wanted to know if it had been making a difference.  Lawton Police did a comparison to see how the gang task force is doing and it turns out they're making a huge difference.  "I have a gang task force in place and they will stay in place.  because we found out by keeping them in place and working it hard were going to do everything we can to reduce the crime in Lawton," said Chief Smith.  He compared April through July 2006 and discovered that the numbers have drastically gone down.

Police believe that the numbers have gone down because of awareness.  The gang unit has given over 100 informational presentations and they say putting on the pressure this year has been one of their best tools.  Smith says his gang unit puts a lot of time into knowing who the gang members are, where they hang out and what they claim.  And, a lot of that hard work is starting to show.  "You take a lot of your key players off the street say four or five of them and it gets quite because your keep players are the ones causing all the problems," he said.

When comparing April through July 2007, the police made 139 more misdemeanor arrests that were related to gang activity.  The same applies to weapons - they've seized 10 more than last year and when it comes to felony arrests, they've made 29 more than 2006.  Police say that they hear a difference, too.  "We have had gang members tell our gang task force that they have gotten out of town because of so much pressure," said Smith.  "It's just been a real good year with the gang task force and the help of the other officers everything is going really good."

Chief Smith says the gang unit couldn't do what they do alone.  They get a lot of support from other officers and just because crime has slowed down, doesn't mean police are letting up.