GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies told West Michigan residents Thursday that they plan to stay on top of neighborhood gang violence.
A Thursday press conference followed the takedown of 31 alleged members of the Latin Kings operating in the Holland area last week.
Photos: 31 alleged Latin Kings members indicted
US Attorney Patrick Miles said his office and federal agencies like the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency are geared to a task force approach, working with local and state police across jurisdictional lines.
It was that kind of cooperation that resulted in the Latin Kings arrests.
A local and federal task force also busted 25 Grand Rapids gang members in 2011 in an investigation that looked at 14 different crimes in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Kent County.
"I don't think you can measure it, but taking 25 -- some of the worst -- off the streets of Grand Rapids, I think our summer last summer was a lot quieter than it could have been," said Grand Rapids Police Department Capt. Jeffrey Hertel.
Hertel said that even though gang members were involved they saw no evidence that the crimes were being committed to further any gang goals.
"The majority of it was I would describe as personal level violence. Someone was disrespected or slighted or somebody's dope got stolen," said Hertel.
Miles wants residents to know that the agencies are going to continue working together and want the public to be part of it.
"Neighbors who are tired of violence, tired of having their children hear gunshots in the evening, tired of having their kids walking to school and fearing for their lives need to know that we are going to do as much as we can about it," Miles said. "The public doesn't need to fear us doing our jobs and prosecuting these violent individuals. They need to be a partner as well and they need to let us know so we can target some of the people that they have in mind that are terrorizing their neighborhoods."
Miles also encouraged businesses to hire people getting out of prison to keep them from going back to the gangs. He said the public should be outraged by the cost of keeping people in prison only to have them return to crime and get locked up again.
That's something both former and current gang members have told 24 Hour News 8. Last week, a member of the Tiny Rascal Gang in Holland said he and many other gang members can't find jobs because they have felonies on their records, so they turn to the gangs.
Former UAW President Owen Bieber, now retired and living in Dorr Township, was wide-eyed at the magnitude of the moment. Nelson Mandela, just out of a South African prison, meeting another civil rights icon -- Rosa Parks -- at the Detroit …
A Grand Rapids sex offender has been charged with another crime against a young girl.
A Grand Rapids man busted for using a 77-year-old woman's credit cards has now been charged with breaking into her home – and raping her.