STOCKTON (CBS13) – All too often murders make news, but it’s the lack of homicides that are getting attention in the city of Stockton.
The Stockton Police Department released a new list of crime statistics, and it appears the new crime fighting approach is working, for now at least.
At this time last year, three people had lost their lives. Now two and a half weeks into 2013, no one has been murdered.
The decline comes after the Stockton Police Department implemented the community response team during the final six months of 2012.
From June to December, the team of 22 officers arrested almost 300 felons and seized 168 guns.
“They’ve taken guns off the street nightly and have made significant arrests,” said Stockton Police Department spokesperson Officer Joseph Silva.
The break in the killings allows officers from the specialized team to patrol neighborhoods and proactively seek out wanted bad guys.
“When our officers are out there taking guns of the street daily and nightly, we know we are preventing some kind of crimes from occurring, whether shooting, street robbery or a homicide,” said Silva.
Assistance from California Highway Patrol in the last few months of 2012 may have also helped. A record-breaking 71 people were killed last year; 11 in October, six in November and four in December.
“We need the police to be everywhere,” store clerk Yusef Fadel said.
He works in the heart of downtown and has seen his fair share of crime. But Fadel remains hopeful police will get a handle on the violence.
“I think the police are doing good the last two weeks, and I feel safe, and I hope it’s going to be like this,” said Fadel.
Police stress that task forces are not a quick fix, but citizens are thrilled that headlines are not reading another Stockton homicide.