STOCKTON (CBS13) – Stockton made national headlines after a year of violence ended with a record-breaking murder rate. Now closing in on another year, the city’s homicide numbers are drastically down from 71 to 32.
Police say they couldn’t have done it without the community.
On Sunday, Cynthia Wade walked the same Stockton street where her son was killed.
“The night it happened, this is where I was. This is where they brought me to,” she said.
Wade’s son died from a stabbing two months ago. Despite Stockton’s overall murder rate dropping dramatically, its reputation remains.
“It happens often here,” said Wade.
In 2012, amidst the city’s money trouble and bankruptcy, violence erupted. A record-setting 71 people were murdered, filling the streets with tension.
Now in 2013, the number of murders is less than half. Despite her son’s unsolved murder this year, Wade says the city’s tolerance for violence is changing.
“I think the community was appalled with all of the violence in the neighborhood,” said Wade.
Stockton police credit the decrease to a gun buyback program, CHP’s help with their community response team, and community watch groups for making Stockton safer this year.
“We’re a deterrent,” said Sean Rodgers, a Guardian Angels coordinator.
Guardian Angels started working to keep the streets safe.
“Murder is going to stick with you for a little while,” said Rodgers.
While Wade says the numbers show things are getting better, she says people are still fearful of retaliation and won’t say if they witness a crime.
“It could be your son or your daughter that was murdered,” she said.
Stockton police say they hope the downward trend will continue with the help of 120 more officers they plan to hire over the next three years.
The city has seen a steady increase in murders since 2008, and even though the number of murders is down drastically, it’s back to the average the city usually sees.