The news is good, but Grand Island Police and the Hall County Sheriff's Office say they're taking nothing for granted.
Grand Island Police Department Chief Steve Lamken: "We can never rest on our laurels. I think it's one of those things; if we are not out there and being pro-active, that it will easily get out of hand."
Still, the encouraging new statistics show that Grand Island gang-related activity is down 38% since November 2010's "Operation Pier Pressure" sting was carried out. That effort was coordinated by the Nebraska Drug and Safe Streets Task Force, and was a team effort by multiple agencies.
Hall County Sheriff's Office Captain Jim Castleberry: "The local drug task force in conjunction with the FBI, ICE, Grand Island Police Department, Hall County Sheriff's Department, and other agencies did a massive arrest program with, basically, the "East Side Locos."
Authorities say the "East Side Locos," affiliated with a California-based gang, made their center of operations in the Pier Park area. The new statistics indicate that the law enforcement gains made in "Operation Pier Pressure" rendered enduring benefits.
The latest numbers include all information from the year 2011.
Grand Island law enforcement authorities say sharing information has been key in fighting gang crime.
Chief Steve Lamken: "It goes back to every police officer, and every deputy, and every person involved in the law enforcement community. If they have information, they're reporting it. And, if...without that, you don't have a good picture. And when you put together these major cases like 'Pier Pressure,' the intelligence is very important."
Police say double-digit success in tamping down Grand Island gang activity has made places like Pier Park safer and more family-friendly to visit.
In their anti-gang efforts, law enforcement authorities have also coordinated with city administrators to remove the graffiti that serve as gang territory markers.