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Operation Salt City fights back against Syracuse gangs

Ellen Abbott
Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler during a news conference detailing the work of Operation Salt City.

The Syracuse area’s Gang Violence Task Force has been able to make a dent in some of the city’s gang activity this summer with its most recent crackdown on gangs.

There are 17 distinct criminal gangs spread out among several Syracuse neighborhoods, according to the Gang Violence Task Force. With names like Bricktown, Elk Block and the Northside Bloods, officials they are the source of much of the crime in the city.  

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says the most recent task force crackdown, dubbed “Operation Salt City,” pulled local, state and federal resources together to make a dent in that violence. Between May and September, the task force made 248 arrests, including 124 gang members. Fowler says a high point came July 6th on Syracuse’s Southside.

"On that particular day, they were able to arrest three gang members and recover two hand guns in an area of the city where we were  seeing a great deal of violence.”

The entire initiative also confiscated more than a $750,000, 22 firearms and drugs with a street value of $44,000.  

This latest operation was funded through the United State Marshals Triple Beam enforcement initiative, and is something that the Syracuse Police Department says it couldn’t do on its own.

“Urban police departments throughout this country [are] facing a manpower crisis. Syracuse is no different. So it’s important, now more than ever, that we have these types of task forces, to assist us in our effort to go after these very dangerous criminals.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.