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(KSL TV) A recent rash of robberies tied to gang activity has Salt Lake Valley law enforcers on high alert.
Members of Salt Lake County's Metro Gang Unit are busy with an increase in armed robberies as well as a rise in all violent crime being committed by gang members.
Three weeks ago innocent bystanders were caught in the crossfire of a shooting at the Fun Dome involving Asian gangs. Then, last Thursday four violent armed robberies at Salt Lake Valley convenient stores ended with shots fired and clerks assaulted.
Sgt. Billy Robertson/Salt Lake Metro Gang Unit: "FOR NO APPARENT REASON, JUST WANT TO ASSAULT THE PEOPLE AS THEY GO IN. IT'S KIND OF THAT GANGSTER MENTALITY. THEY CAN TALK ABOUT IT LATER. THEY WALK OUT OF THERE WITH SEVEN TEN-CASES OF BEER."
In 2002 there was almost a 51 percent surge in non-graffiti crimes. And at the current rate, detectives expect to see the trend continue in 2003.