BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Forty-six. That's how many people were killed at the hands of another in Kern County so far this year according to local law enforcement.
Those 46 killings occurred between January and June this year in all of Kern County but during the same time last year, there were 70 according to the 23ABC Homicide Tracker. And while that number has decreased, the Bakersfield Police Department and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office say one death is still too many.
“2021 was a particularly violent year, not just for Bakersfield, but for the country. And fortunately, we’re seeing those numbers decrease in 2022,” said Sgt. Robert Pair of the Bakersfield Police Department.
Homicide is described as the deliberate killing of one person by another. Under Bakersfield police jurisdiction there were 19 homicides from January to June of this year compared to 31 during that same time period in 2021.
Under the sheriff's office's jurisdiction there were 27 this year, the same number of killings by this time last year. KCSO says this means there hasn’t been much change for their department.
“Last year’s total count was 52 homicides, so they’re kind of on track. It's very similar numbers. It really hasn’t increased or decreased at this point,” explained KCSO Public Information Officer Lori Meza.
When it comes to 2021, BPD says it saw every type of homicide.
“We saw pretty much every metric right. If it was just homicides pertaining to gang activity than you could point your finger and say it was gang-related, but it wasn’t. It was domestic violence homicides, homicides with drug nexuses, so it was uniformly high.”
But while homicides have decreased so far this year robberies have not. During the first half of 2022 there were 328 robberies reported to BPD so far, compared to last year there were 294. For KCSO there have been 251 reports of robberies from January through June this year, compared to 222 a year ago.
“Unfortunately robbery is still right around where 2021 was, which is above 2020. We saw a decrease, that could be directly related to COVID business closures and less targets of opportunity during that time,” said Sgt. Pair.
But regardless of the crime, BPD says it's still necessary to let law enforcement know.
“When we get these numbers, we look at locations where we see frequency for these types of incidents and that’s a lot of times how we allocate staffing, how we allocate extra patrol,” continued Sgt. Pair.
When it comes to combatting additional crime Meza says the one-cent sales tax measure on the ballot this November would help.
"It would 100 percent tremendously help us bring back things like our gang unit and other specialized units that we just had to dissolve because just didn’t have the funding to attract new personnel or pay for these additional positions.”
And regardless of the crime, BPD says it is still working to keep everyone safe.
“It’s nice to see those numbers come down," says Sgt. Pair. "We’re still going to be proactive in our enforcement, and still exhaust every resource in investigating these crimes that affect people.”
Another crime that has increased this year is catalytic converter theft. KCSO has seen 345 during the first half of this year compared to 337 during the first half of 2021.
Homicides are typically at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to crime. But 23ABC also received stats for rape, assault, and grand theft auto among others.
Under the BPD’s jurisdiction, there have been 58 rapes reported during the first half of 2022 compared to 62 last year. Under the KCSO's jurisdiction there has been 59 rapes reported this year and 72 in 2021.
When it comes to assaults reported to BPD in 2022 there have been 596 and in 2021 there were 605. KCSO has seen 2,420 assaults this year and 2,905 last year.
As for auto theft, BPD received 2,334 reports in 2022 compared to 2,508 last year. And KCSO has seen 1,580 reports of auto theft so far this year compared to 1,498 last year.
Both BPD and KCSO say while this year's statistics are better they are still working to keep the public safe.
“2022 we’ve seen a reduction. Of course, 2021 should not be a baseline right, because that was high across the board. We set record-breaking crime records just like many jurisdictions," said Sgt. Pair.
“Law enforcement by nature is very reactive so we react to the crimes that are being reported and those crimes are defined by California state law,” added Meza.
KCSO also adds that they feel funding that could potentially come from the one-cent sales tax measure on the ballot in November could help their department bring back specialized units that would keep Kern County safe.