BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — From homicides to school threat investigations to catalytic convertor thefts and more crime continues to be a problem for the community. But the biggest jump didn't come from homicides, and it's causing frustration for local authorities.
23ABC spoke to law enforcement officials about the recent uptick in crime and what factors may be contributing.
“The reality is, and we see it whether the homicide number is low that year or high, it’s the same cycle you have a shooting or a homicide and if it’s gang-related, that will then precipitate additional shootings and homicides in retaliation,” said Sgt. Robert Pair the Bakersfield Police Department PIO.
60 people lost their lives in the city of Bakersfield from homicides during the year 2021.
Pair said gang-related homicides decreased last year.
“For 2021, we saw about a 29% nexus for gang-related offenses, versus previous years where that trends to around 40 to 50 percent,” said Pair.
However, Pair also added that if history repeats itself gang-related homicides tend to increase as retaliation occurs when cases are solved.
While Sheriff Donny Youngblood said KCSO has seen a 20% decrease, homicides are still up from years past and he believes the Kern County social class could play a role.
“The socioeconomic condition of Kern County is a factor as well, so when you have those people that aren’t employed, you have those gangs that are on both sides of the line, you are going to have conflict,” said Youngblood.
When it comes to other crimes BPD handled in 2021 as of December 28th. Bpd had 668 total robberies compared to 619 in 2020 and 721 in 2019. For school threats, they investigated 33 in 2021 as of December 28th, 7 in 2020, and 22 in 2019.
But for catalytic convertor theft, they saw a dramatic increase of 2224 in 2021 as of December 28th 561 in 2020, and 179 in 2019.
Pair said when it comes to property crime, they have been arresting the same people.
“Law enforcement has been ringing the alarm for a significant amount of time regarded property crime, the fact is law enforcement is also frustrated with arrested the same individuals over and over and over,” said Pair.
He said this weekend was a prime example of this.
“This weekend we arrested an individual for auto theft and possession of a firearm, that individual is on AB109 nonviolent offender status, this is his 8th arrest for auto theft in two years,” said Pair.
Youngblood said current California props do not help with crime.
“Prop 47 and 57 really doomed us with decriminalizing crimes and quite frankly not holding people accountable for their actions,” said Youngblood.
Meanwhile, Pair said while law enforcement continues to do their best to keep the community safe keeping people in jail is not up to them.
“Law enforcement does not determine how long someone is kept in custody, we simply investigate the crimes and bring those people into the judicial system, but the frustration is that we’re seeing the same people commit the same crimes over and over with no accountability,” said Pair.