New Year’s Eve in Stockton: as the horns and streamers come out, so do guns.
“I am not frightened because I know what to expect,” said 94-year-old Stockton resident Merre Martin.
“We normally celebrate down south, so we do hear the gunfire out there,” said resident Nadine Pastran.
Stockton Police are preparing for the New Year’s celebratory gunfire by increasing staffing, roaming areas identified as “hot spots,” and the use of electrical devices throughout the city that detect gunfire.
“If a bullet comes up, it has to come down somewhere, so we are very concerned about that,” said Chief of Police Eric Jones.
Stockton has already made great strides in decreasing gunfire, violent crimes and homicides.
Back in 2012, Stockton’s homicide rate reached a record high of 71. The number was reduced by more than half this year, with 32 homicides recorded.
Chief Jones credits the San Joaquin Co. Sheriff’s Department with their county-wide gang task force, the California Highway Patrol for making a visible presence in the area, and federal agents with the ATF for helping remove more than 1,000 guns off the streets through “Operation Giddeon 4.”
“As well as Lodi, Manteca, Tracy police departments, they have also been here helping on this county wide gang task force,” said Chief Jones.
Chief Jones also credited the community as a big help in bringing down crime numbers.
More than 30 watch groups formed in 2013, local churches continue to perform night walks and crime tips from the community have increased.
“It is a true collaboration between Stockton Police, our other law enforcement partners and the community for making a difference in Stockton,” said Chief Jones.