Greeley gang incidents rise, but so do arrests

Sharon Dunn (Greeley Tribune) | December 27, 2010

Although the number of gang-related incidents and arrests is up in Greeley this year, some law enforcement officials see that as a positive; they are keeping the pressure on the city gang’s members.

As of November, Greeley police had logged 52 major gang-related incidents in Greeley throughout the year, 25 of which resulted in arrests. That number may seem minimal, but that’s up from 26 incidents through the same 11 months last year, which then had resulted in eight arrests.

Those numbers don’t startle Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner, who has watched gang crime climb throughout the year with seemingly no explanation. Garner vows the heat will continue on Greeley’s notorious gang population, about 600 of whom are tracked through the police’s seven-member gang unit.

“We’re going to keep pretty much after what we’ve been doing, because when you look at going from eight arrests to 25 arrests — I’m pretty happy — you keep the pressure on them,” Garner said.

Communication is an essential element to such arrests, said detective Mike Prill of the Greeley gang unit. That’s why he’s stepped up talks with police agencies throughout the state, as well as the Department of Corrections. From DOC, for example, Prill learns which gang members from Greeley have remained active while in prison, and he keeps tabs on who will be coming back into the community soon, knowing that the more active gangbangers are more likely to re-offend.

“It’s paid off,” Prill said. “It definitely helps lock away the gang members. For as dumb as the public perceives them to be, and perhaps they are academically, they’re very suave at learning from others’ mistakes.”

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