ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) has launched an intensified anti-criminality drive in response to the 11 street shootings since January in this southern port city, an official said Friday.

As part of the heightened measure, a tactical motorcycle riding unit was activated to serve as a strike unit of the ZCPO, Col. Alexander Lorenzo, the city police director, said.

“They are stationed in strategic places of the city. They will be the first responders to any crimes that may occur in their designated area,” Lorenzo said.

The intensified police response came after ZCPO recorded 11 shooting incidents since January, most of which involved perpetrators riding in tandem and using full-face crash helmets to conceal their identities.

Another measure is the intensified checkpoint operations in different parts of the city, which collared an alleged high-value target (HVT) drug pusher Thursday.

Lorenzo said the suspect accidentally pulled a heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet of suspected shabu when told to present his driver’s license. At least 57.2 grams of suspected shabu worth PHP389,000 was seized.

On Tuesday morning, operatives of the ZCPO’s Station 3 arrested two suspected car thieves and recovered a pickup truck in a checkpoint operation in Barangay Sangali.

Lorenzo appealed to the public to bear with them as the conduct of checkpoint operations may result in traffic congestion.

“That (checkpoint) is what we are implementing now 24/7. It may cause inconvenience because of traffic but rest assured our city will be safe,” he added.

Meanwhile, he said five of the 11 shooting incidents were already solved and cases have been filed against the suspects.

He said they also have persons of interests as investigation continue on the remaining six cases. (PNA)