STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) – State Attorney General Rob Bonta was in Stockton Thursday for a roundtable discussion about the city’s unique approach to both gang and gun violence prevention.
Bonta met with Mayor Kevin Lincoln and other city leaders at city hall to listen and learn how to bring the Stockton model of violence prevention to other cities.
Stockton city leaders say overall gun violence is trending down even with the recent homicides and spike in shootings.
“I understand what it’s like in the streets because I was in them myself,” said Koron Richardson, a client of the Office of Violence Prevention. “So I understand trying to stop the violence and where all that beef comes from.”
From a former gang member to a small business owner, Richardson now has a seat at the table next to Bonta and Chief Eric Jones of the Stockton Police Department.
“I do love my community; I love my people. And I do want to stop because this violence is nonsense, all this gang violence is nonsense,” Richardson said.
Thursday, Richardson joined to discuss the success of Stockton’s violence prevention efforts including the Operation Peacekeeper and Operation Ceasefire programs with Bonta and other community leaders.
“They’ve identified and implemented something very special in Stockton,” Bonta said.
According to Stockton’s Office of Violence Prevention, the city’s model uses data to identify people in the community most at risk of committing a violent crime or becoming a victim of one to intervene before it happens through partnerships and active community outreach.
“We have to have respectful communication,” Jones said. “So, we’re telling you guys, ‘Hey, we care about you right, we don’t want to see you incarcerated, we don’t want to see you shot,’ and that we actually follow up and follow through.”
“If y’all guys care about us, y’all going to be out there with us showing that y’all care,” Richardson responded. “You wouldn’t just sit behind and talk about it you would be out there with us and OVP, they’re out there with us.”
“The common denominator is that through every step the individual is the focus, they’re at the forefront and they never lose sight of that,” Lincoln added.
After watching the presentation and listening to testimonials, Bonta said it’s clear that what Stockton is doing is working.
Richardson said it takes time.
“Without the Office of Violence Prevention, without all the positive role models in here, I would have still been in the negative state of mind, which would have kept me having negative actions and negative outcomes,” Richardson said. “So, I know what negative outcomes only come through two things, either death or jail.”
Bonta said Thursday’s listening tour was the first step.