4 arrested during gang sweep by local, state officials

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Jul. 30—State and local law enforcement officials arrested four documented gang members during a two-day proactive gang sweep that also included gathering intelligence on local crime trends, according to Santa Maria Police on Friday.

The operation included officers from the Santa Maria Police Department's Special Enforcement Team and Detective Bureau, along with the Santa Barbara County Probation Department and California State Parole who went to 20 known gang members' residences across the city to conduct searches and field interviews.

Officers also seized items of evidentiary value, according to the Santa Maria Police Department.

Santa Maria Police did not immediately provide the names of those arrested during the operation. Of the four, two were arrested on suspicion of firearm-related charges, according to the SMPD.

The operation was conducted in response to rise in violent crime and looked into gang trends, members and recent crime, although the SMPD did not immediately provide statistics.

Violent crime increased in California by 0.8% from 2019 to 2020, increasing from 433.5 incidents to 437 per capita (per 100,000 people) from one year to the next, according to statistics released by the California Department of Justice on July 1.

Additionally, Department of Justice statistics show homicides increased 31% in 2020, from 4.2 in 2019 to 5.5 per capita in 2020.

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