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Police chief looking into gang policing citywide

Police chief looking into gang policing citywide



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Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank isn't planning to make specific changes in Glendale, but he is taking a long, hard look at gang policing citywide after the drive-by shooting and murder of a 7-year-old girl.

"It's not so much neighborhood-driven, because this really isn't a neighborhood problem. This involved gang members, kind of a rival-gang sort of thing going on, and so it's more looking at what the gang activity is throughout the city," Burbank said.

He continued, saying, "This is one of those very hard things for police officers to interdict because it just erupts and happens so quickly that to try and guess, ‘Oh, it's going to be in this neighborhood, it's going to be in that neighborhood,' is very difficult. But it's something that we want to 're-look,' and our gang unit's already doing that, to evaluate what sort of effort we're putting forth, how we're putting pressure on these individual gangs and the members thereof to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again. We cannot completely eliminate crime, but we need to do all we can to suppress it."

It's one reason he'd been looking at other changes, even before this happened. Burbank says police have already increased all activity in the Glendale neighborhood. Further, he says the police department has recently added about 40 new members to the Mobile Watch and Neighborhood Watch programs, mostly in Glendale and Rose Park.

But he adds preventing gang violence is always a challenge that requires constant attention, creativity and innovation. And key in that is communication between neighbors and police to make sure anything out of the ordinary is brought to the attention of officers.

To listen to the full interview with Chief Burbank, click the related audio link to the right of the story.

E-mail: bbruce@ksl.com

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Becky Bruce

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