Orange County

Orange County Crime Surge Worries Police and Residents

Police believe shorter sentences for misdemeanors are contributing to this spike. Studies say otherwise.

Santa Ana police are trying to figure out how to tamp down a recent spike in gang crime in the wake of back-to-back police shootings that have left the community reeling.

Two burglary suspects were killed Thursday, and both an officer and a gang suspect were injured in a gunfight Wednesday, police said.

Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas said officers have noted a significant spike in officer-related shootings amid what he said was a gang war playing out on the streets of the city.

He vowed to crack down and pointed to a recent sweep of 14 arrests and a seizure of handguns.

Rojas blames the crime spike on shorter sentences for misdemeanors such as drug charges.

"We're having a lot of shootings and were seizing a lot of handguns from gang members and career criminals," said Rojas. "We see that drugs and violence and gangs often goes hand-in-hand."

Both the Orange County community and the police department are attempting to work together in order to improve safety. Community leaders are set to hold monthly forums in an attempt to quell tensions.

"In my opinion one of the big problems are just perceptions," said community leader Connie Hamilton. "A lot of people unfortunately are raised to hate the police and when raised that way that's all you see and think."

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