Police respond to rampant gang violence in Bay of Plenty with increased presence

There will be more police on the streets of Western Bay of Plenty following a string of violent gang-related incidents recently.

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A homicide investigation has been launched by police following a shooting at the address. Source: 1 NEWS

Earlier this week, two men were killed at a semi-rural property at Omanawa, about 25 minutes from Tauranga.

It's believed to be gang related and is the latest incident in the region after weeks of rising tension, which has seen shops destroyed and a home peppered with bullets.

Yesterday, Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell pleaded for more police, and today, his request appears to have been answered.

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"We know tensions between gangs have caused fears for safety to arise, however we would like to reassure people that general members of the public are not the focus of those tensions," Clifford Paxton, Western Bay of Plenty area commander said in a statement.

"That being said, gang violence in our community is not acceptable and will not be tolerated."

There will be increase police presence in the area, he said.

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Gangs expert Jarrod Gilbert believes the crime wave is linked to new gangs, which includes deportees from Australia known as the 501S, as well as US imports the Mongols.

"So what we're seeing is really growing pains within the gang scene and we haven't seen that in a long time," he told 1 NEWS yesterday. 

Yesterday, police in the Manawatu region made a similar announcement - vowing to boost officer numbers on the street after a string of gang-related violence in that area, too.