Reporting Laura Cole
STOCKTON (CBS13) – Stockton was under siege last year with a record number of murders; now the city is taking drastic efforts to crack down on crime, and it is working.
However, one of the city’s major crime-fighting tools is going away. California Highway Patrol is no longer teaming up with Stockton police to patrol the city.
Twenty-eight days into the year, and there hasn’t been a homicide, yet. This time last year, there were already five murders. Undoubtedly, people want the numbers to stay that way, but they’re concerned it might not happen now.
Dozens of CHP and Stockton police officers hit the streets together, taking the worst of the worst criminals off the streets.
“We wanted to make it very uncomfortable for the criminals out in these neighborhoods,” Stockton police Officer Joe Silva said.
In a three-month joint effort, CHP came in and helped saturate Stockton with officers. In all, they made 122 felony arrests, took 68 guns off the streets, and conducted 355 probation and parole searches.
“I’m really pleased with that,” said resident Renee Rodriguez. “It just makes me know that they are watching us, you know what I mean, that there’s not someone lurking in the park that’s going to attack you for your jewelry,” she said.
Rodriguez and others are worried that without CHP criminals will think they’ve got a better chance of getting away with committing crimes.
“Now, I look at everything, and knowing there are not as many eyes on us watching for our safety, I’m concerned,” said Rodriguez.
“That scares me that they’re done,” resident Adrenna Philpott said. “I don’t understand why they would be leaving at this point.”
Stockton police say the effort was always temporary, but plenty of officers will still be on the streets.
“You’re still going to see a law enforcement presence in these high crime neighborhoods. Just because the CHP left doesn’t mean we are not going to continue doing what we were doing, even before CHP jumped on board,” said Silva.
Community response teams will continue to be out in full force and the Stockton Police Department is pushing social media to help take down the bad guys.
At a prayer service outside of city hall Monday, about 100 people gathered to make it clear this community is sticking together and fighting crime together.
“With the city joining up where CHP is stepping back, we can do great work together,” Pastor Curtis Smith of Destiny Christian Center said.
It’s not impossible for CHP to work with the Stockton Police Department again. In fact, the police department has already put in the request, but hasn’t heard back.