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GANG CRIMES UP OVERALL IN VALLEY.

Byline: Mariel Garza Staff Writer

VALLEY GLEN - Attempted killings by gang members in the San Fernando Valley increased 209 percent from 34 in January of this year, compared with 11 in January 2002, and gang crime overall rose nearly one-third, from 101 to 131 incidents, officials said Tuesday.

The disclosure came as part of a state-of-policing-in-the-Valley report to the Los Angeles Police Commission during an meeting held at Valley College by head of Valley police, Deputy Chief Ron Bergmann.

Although attempted homicides and other gang crime surged, gang killings during the start of 2003 dropped 44 percent in the Valley over the same time the year before, Los Angeles Police Department officials said Tuesday.

``We had a number of shootings with multiple victims, which makes it look like there are more shootings than there are,'' Bergmann said, referring to the attempted killings. ``Nevertheless, it is a problem in the San Fernando Valley. We are having more shootings.''

Bergmann pointed out that, overall, serious crimes in the Valley are down 3.9 percent as of March 8, compared with the same time last year, and serious crimes are down 3.2 percent.

Bergmann said the Valley's Operations Bureau has begun some counter moves to combat the rise in gang crime, which contributed to the city holding the record of most killings in the nation last year.

In December 2001, Bergmann brought together a coalition of police and community members to attack the gang problem. That resulted in the formation of the San Fernando Coalition on Gangs.

Bergmann said that without the efforts of the coalition, the rise in gang activity would have been even worse.

Police Commissioner David Cunningham III, who is acting as commission president in President Rick Caruso's absence, was pleased with Bergmann's presentation.

``I was very impressed to hear in the report that homicides decreased,'' Cunningham said. ``I think that it is one of the true tests you look at when you evaluate the department.''

The commission meeting was one of periodic roving evening meetings in various communities around the city. The last was held in the fall in East Los Angeles.

East Valley City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel also attended the meeting and announced a $31,000 donation to the Jeopardy Foundation, which helps fund the coalition's gang-prevention efforts. Greuel and council members Hal Bernson, Ruth Galanter, Tom LaBonge, Alex Padilla, Jack Weiss and Dennis Zine all contributed to the donation.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Mar 12, 2003
Words:403
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