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Sheriffs arrest 30 gang members; Norwalk area murders reach 13

By Brian Hews

In a coordinated effort by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, 30 suspected gang members have been arrested in a crackdown in Norwalk during the Labor Day Weekend holiday.

The arrest’s took place over a 72 hour period and was coordinated by the Sheriff’s COPS Team, as well as the Gang Enforcement Team, said Norwalk Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Scroggin.

Scroggin talked about the effort at Tuesday’s Norwalk City Council meeting.
The sweep was coordinated under the name “Operation Safe Streets” and was ordered after a wave of violent crimes has left 13 people dead since January 1st in the area under the jurisdiction patrolled by the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station that includes La Mirada, and unincorporated Los Nietos.

In 2011, Scroggin said that a total of nine murders took place for the entire year.

“2012 has been a tough year compared to what we have seen here in the past years,” he said.

During the past weekend arrests, both marked and unmarked patrol cars where used and dozens of locations were searched throughout the greater Norwalk area.

Scroggin said that an additional 50 “direct contacts” were made during the sweep with known gang members and that additional citations were issued.
“The immediate impact of these arrests is hard to tell in the long run, but we did have a relatively quiet three day weekend,” said Scroggin.

Councilman Leonard Shryock asked if other surrounding communities were seeing a rise in violent crimes, or if it is just been contained to being in Norwalk.

“Our numbers have spiked,” said Scroggin and also pointed out this year has seen a rise in violent crimes in Artesia and La Mirada, and that certain parts of Unincorporated South Whittier have “quieted down recently.”
Veteran city councilman Mike Mendez said “we need to make residents of Norwalk feel safe.” “It is important that we address this head on,” Mendez said.

Scroggin, who was representing Captain Patrick Maxwell at the city council meeting said that the Norwalk station has five dedicated gang investigators working full time in the community, up from three during the same period one year ago and that an additional deputy has been added to the “Operation Safe Streets” detail.

“This is the first time in five years under the direction of Captain Maxwell, that we have requested additional outside resources from other Sheriff operations,” Scroggin said.

Residents will also see increased patrols at upcoming high school football games and other major community events including this weekend’s popular festival at St. John of God Catholic Church in Norwalk.

“We are prepared, and going to do whatever it takes to keep our residents and visitors to Norwalk safe,” said Scroggin.

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