STOCKTON (CBS13) — The city of Stockton has experienced 53 homicides so far in 2017, and with the year coming to a close, families impacted by murder hope those numbers will soon change.
It's an effort law enforcement and city leaders have been working on.
The organization Victims of Violent Crime is a support group made up of grieving families who not only want justice but peace in the new year.
For many families in Stockton, the holiday season has become a tough time. The feeling of joy and happiness, replaced with heartache and loss.
“Her birthday was Dec. 14 and then she was killed on Jan. 6, that’s the hardest. The holidays will never be the same, even though it’s been 18 years you never forget," said Joyce Tuhn, who lost her daughter 18 years ago to a drunk driver.
Tuhn co-founded the VOVC. It was launched in 2002 with about 10 people. Now, it serves more than 300 families impacted by homicide in San Joaquin County.
“When one is having a bad day we’ll call each other up, and we’ll talk to each other, talk them through it so they can make it to the next day. It’s just one day at a time. Every day is a tough day," she said.
The group supports families in court hearings and trials. They also participate in candlelight vigils, fundraising for funerals, and most importantly, offer loved ones, comfort.
“We don’t want to be part of that, I don’t think anybody wants to be part of that organization, but we all do come together because of our loved ones," said Leticia Galvan, founder of Luis G. Alvarez, Jr. Rewards for Justice.
“I wish there wasn’t any homicides in 2018. We know there is going to be, but we just want all of us to get together and empower ourselves and if you know something, come forward and tell so we put that person away. We don’t need that person out in the streets," she said.
VOVC receives a lot of help from the community through volunteers and generous donations including several sporting events. Its next fundraiser takes place Jan. 6 at the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium.