STOCKTON, Calif — As the year came to a close, Stockton saw its homicide rate decrease significantly from 56 in 2020 to 39 in 2021.
"And when we look at the homicides that we investigated we did see a reduction in domestic violence type homicides, and we believe that's because of pandemic-related issues that were going on," Joe Silva, spokesperson for the Stockton Police Department, said.
He also says getting more illegal guns off the streets, tips to Crime Stoppers and work from the city's Office of Violence Prevention have also contributed. Another big factor, according to Silva, is the work of non-profits.
Teshante McCoy lost her 31-year-old brother Teri McCoy to a homicide in 2012.
That motivated her to establish The Lighthouse, a place providing support and healing for victims of violence.
She believes activism along with prayer has helped curb homicide numbers.
"There's not one person or one thing or one organization that contributes to it. It's an energy. It's a spirit of unity," McCoy said.
That unity includes clergy like Faith in the Valley.
Toni McNeil of Faith in the Valley San Joaquin gives credit to the city's Office of Crime Prevention but also to what she calls the unsung heroes, or non-profits.
"We are bringing in more clergy and faith leaders in the community and congregations in order to help advocate (and) organize for more resources," McNeil said.
Some organizations, like the community policing non-profit Stocktonians Taking Action to Neutralize Drugs (STAND), say police are listening to their concerns and building trust in the community.
"When your a victim of crime, you don't want the person who shot up your car knowing that you're talking to police because more retaliation is going to happen," said Fred Shiel of STAND.
Teshante McCoy believes getting to the root of the problem first will help keep crime down overall.
"People don't want to be violent. There is a story behind it," McCoy said.