STOCKTON - Stockton police and other agencies in San Joaquin Countysearched residencesin west Stockton Wednesday morning in an effort to try and discourage an uptick in gang activity.

"We've identified two groups who are responsible for a majority of the shootings," Stockton police spokesman Joe Silva said.

The searches were related to Operation Ceasefire, an anti-crime effort in Stockton. That program involves officers and social workers meeting with individuals with checkered pasts and offering them alternative programs to help them escape a life of crime and subsequent incarceration.

According to Silva, police located weapons and drugs, and made several arrests during the sweeps.

Silva said a lot of the gang members who were targeted have participated in Operation Ceasefire discussions with police, but their behavior did not change.

"Part of Ceasefire, they go back to the group or gang, and spread the message that law enforcement is serious. They need to stop the violence," said Silva.

When suspects turn down the offer, police promise swift action at the first sign of criminal activity.

"People we've arrested, they're still in jail and bails are set higher. They can't get out of jail and continue the shootings," said Silva.

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