Stockton homicides up from last year, police expand efforts to lower numbers

Despite an increasing number of officers on the street, Stockton saw it's homicide numbers climb by six deaths over the previous year.

Despite an increasing number of officers on the street, Stockton saw it's homicide numbers climb by six deaths over the previous year.

In 2016, Stockton recorded 49 murders. In 2017, the city ended with 55 murders for the year.

Brandon Harrison, 20, was among those who was gunned down after leaving a party on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 1:35 a.m. in Northeast Stockton on Leadon Drive at Bryant Drive.

“The only power they had was the weapon they used against Brandon," said Brandon's mother Lecia Harrison.

The Stockton Police Chief has noticed the increase in homicides during last year.

"So, last year we did have a tough year, 2017, more homicides," said Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones. "Clearly it's a number we find unacceptable."

Jones says while the increase in homicide numbers is unacceptable, he says overall crime is down and gang and gun homicides have dropped as well.

"2016 was a 16-year low of overall crime and total crime and property crime," said Jones. In 2017, it was even lower than that. So the area we struggled was the actual number of homicides."

Jones says despite the increased number of homicides, murders related to gangs and guns are down from the year before.

He says it's not a policing problem by itself, but includes the root causes of crime such as poverty, joblessness and education. He plans on expanding current policing strategies that he believes are working to curb violent crime and bring the murder rate down.

"We are doing what is known as Operation Ceasefire which is a focused deterrence program. It's done in a number of cities for urban policing gun crime and gang related crime," said Jones. "We're also doing something called Project ForBoDe which is pretty cutting edge, showing early numbers which are pretty promising in some pretty focused geographic areas."

Jones says Project ForBoDe forecasts "sort of like a weather forecast" where gun crimes will occur based on analytical data.

Stockton currently has 452 officers on the streets and an 120 additional officers are part of the force after voters passed Measure A in 2013. That was a three-quarter cent sales tax passed in 2013 by voters to fund more police resources.

“I tell people all the time the only reason I’m back in Stockton is my cousin was a victim of a homicide here," said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.

Tubbs is hoping to get support for Advance Peace before the Stockton City Council next Tuesday.

The Richmond based anti-crime strategy targets those most likely to commit gun violence and pairs them with mentors. After six months, the controversial program then pays participants a stipend of up to $700 a month.

“And Advance Peace really engages those folks very intently, and helps them through a series of life goal challenges to put down guns and take advantage of opportunities that are existent," said Tubbs.

The police department hopes to have 485 officers sometime this year.

© 2018 KXTV-TV


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