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Community seeks to combat 2018 homicide rate

Posted: 12:24 AM, Jan 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-09 08:24:03Z

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Last year, Kern County saw a record-breaking 111 homicides.

That number ignited a need for change throughout the community and newly elected county officials like, District Attorney, Cynthia Zimmer.

“Our homicide rate is the highest per capita of any county in California," said Zimmer. "That is unacceptable to me. We have got to do whatever we have to, that is within' the law to make these neighborhoods safer throughout Kern County.

In Tuesday night's Safe Streets Partnership meeting they discussed ways to combat that.

The Bakersfield Police Department adding that gang violence accounted for 50 of those homicides in 2018 and 52 in 2017.

“This was a very violent year. What I'm seeing is there are no rules anymore. What I mean by that is there’s lawlessness," said Manuel Carrizalez, President of Reach 4 Greatness. "You see families and people that are hurting, but as we mentioned in the meeting here, it get’s younger and younger.”

BPD said they have noticed an increase in youth participation. Carrizalez agrees. He said youths have become more interested in joining gangs and gang violence.

Many organizations were present for the meeting and voiced their concerns and services to youth looking for help and guidance.