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Phoenix police kick off Operation Safe Summer

PHOENIX — For the third year, the Phoenix Police Department has assembled a summer task force dedicated to curfew violations, underage drinking and associated criminal activity.

This year, Operation Safe Summer will also focus on education, especially making parents aware of the dangers of party crews. Party crews involve gang members and others organizing parties charging entrance fees, which allow people to drink as much as they want.

“You don’t go to a party (thrown) for someone you don’t know, especially in a location that you’re not familiar with,” said Officer James Holmes. “The most innocent birthday party could very easily turn into a tragedy.”

On Apr. 14, 2013, 18-year-old Jason Acosta-Ramos was killed at his own birthday party, along with 16-year-old Elliseo Cantu. Police said several uninvited guests showed up and when Ramos’ father decided it was time for everyone to leave, someone grabbed a gun from a car and opened fire. Holmes said the investigation revealed members of a party crew were involved.

Since many teenagers learn about parties through word of mouth, text messages and social media, police want parents to discuss with their kids the dangers of attending such events.

During last year’s Operation Safe Summer, police said they served 14 search warrants, seized 15 firearms and made 835 arrests.