Richmond Police Form Gang Task Force

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RICHMOND (KCBS) – The children playing on the Iron Triangle street corner where Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus announced the latest effort to crack down on gang violence barely noticed the growing shrine to the city’s most recent homicide victim.

The accumulation of alcohol bottles, notes and stuffed animals at the corner of 5th and Nevin recall 20-year-old Daryl Russell, Jr ., who was gunned down Wednesday. Meanwhile in a yard across the street, kids played basketball.

Russell’s death was one of three murders in the city just this week and the eighth in July. Police believe the recent spike in violence in the city and neighboring unincorporated areas is gang-related.

“Two of them were shot the same day,” said Lilly Jones, a longtime Richmond resident. She considered the new joint gang task force between Richmond police and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department to be just more business as usual.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Magnus said his officers would ride with deputies in patrols that focus on specific locations and people.

“They’ll be working to develop intel, to interact with community members and to interact with others in ways that can bring this violence to an end,” he said during a news conference on Thursday.

Jones shook her head in frustration. She agreed there needed to be more police in the area. But the solution to the violence lies in addressing much larger social problems, she said.

“I want to see a plan. That ain’t no plan.”

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office announced it would re-double efforts to prosecute gang-related crimes. Rewards of up to $20,000 are being offered for leads on the most recent murders.

Richmond City Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles encouraged residents to end the culture of silence and speak up when they see crime. She urged residents to call the anonymous tip line, or just send an anonymous text.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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