MCFARLAND, Calif. (KERO) — Recent concerns of violence in school districts north of Bakersfield, such as Wasco, Delano, and McFarland, have caused after school activities to either be moved to other locations, or canceled outright. Some residents in the area, however, say the violence is nothing new and it isn’t going to stop.
After the Wasco, McFarland, and Delano school districts have canceled or moved after-school activities due to concerns about gang-related violence, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying they found no credible threats of violence, but mentioned that they did discuss whether or not to increase patrols in the affected areas.
Earlier this week, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved a $2,000 dollar monthly allowance for sheriff deputies to be stations in outlying areas of Kern County, but those outlying areas don’t include Wasco, Delano, McFarland, or many northwest areas.
In response to questions about why the housing allowances aren’t being offered to to deputies in the areas currently facing concerns of violence, KCSO responded with a statement that reads, in part, “If we are able to attract and hire more applicants while providing incentives such as this for retention, it is the sheriff’s goal to fully staff all areas to give the community the best public safety services possible.”
Delano parent Nidia Hernandez says the thought of violence in and around her community weighs heavily on her mind.
“When you hear about the shootings it makes you a little scared to go out with your kids, even to just go get groceries,” Hernandez said. “When we’re gout there’s a little more anxiety. We just don’t now where or what’s going to happen next.”
Hernandez adds that the recent events have made her more concerned for her children’s safety.
“You know, you get more concerned about your kids, especially those of us who have teenagers,” said Hernandez. “I think we’re a little more worried about them being out in the street, just being out. As a parent, you feel unsafe.”
Residents of Wasco and Delano are so concerned about possible gang violence being directed at them that many of them felt uncomfortable speaking to a news crew or being on camera.
McFarland resident Juan Trujillo told 23ABC in a statement that he believes that so long as kids stay away from gangs, they have no reason to be afraid of them.
“If they’re not involved in it, why be scared, you know?” said Trujillo, adding, “Gang violence is not going to stop. It’s been here since before I was born and it’s still going to be here no matter what.”
However, Hernandez would like to see more from law enforcement when it comes to patrolling.
“Well, at times I don’t feel there’s enough,” Hernandez said. “I mean, I do see them patrolling, but when a crime is happening, we don’t see their presence quickly enough.”