Stockton violence puts residents at risk | Crime
STOCKTON, CA - With the city's murder count set to eclipse last year's record level, Stockton residents wonder how to stay safe in a rising tide of violent crime.
"It's bad in Stockton right now. Murders, unsolved murders..." His voice trails off, and as he stands in front of a television news camera, a young man asks that even his tattoos be left out of any images for fear he might be identified.
The young man who lives along Stockton's 3rd Street said his recent move from Gilroy to Stockton left him stunned at the level of crime he now sees almost routinely.
"A little homie down the street got blasted...the first killing of this year," he said, recalling a 16-year-old boy who was shot just one block to the west of his apartment in January.
"He got shot up badly. It went through his head, his chest and everything," he said.
It later turned out the gunmen had missed their intended target and apparently shot a youngster they didn't even know, he said.
To the west a few blocks, 3rd Street saw the latest Stockton shooting Tuesday night, when three young women were hit as they sat in a car outside a home residents said is a known drug house.
Their bullet-riddled Camaro still sat on the street Wednesday night as police forensics experts finished cataloging evidence.
"I worry about the kids because they have a future. I don't want the kids to get involved with the stupid things that happen," said Pedro Calderon, who heard the gunshots, but thought it was just someone shooting a gun into the air.
Stockton saw it's 37th and 38th murders this week.
A fading poster in the 300 block of 3rd Street asks for help solving the murder of an 18-year-old boy who was shot while riding his bike in 2011.
Many residents said they just try to keep a low profile and hope that if shooting breaks out, stray rounds will not come their way.
While some speculate on the causes of rising violent crime, ranging from the continuing economic slump to the reality of more parolees being released from California prisons, others said they just focus on making sure they do not accidentally become the latest victims.
To the man who recently moved from Gilroy, it's a question of keeping to the safer path he choose after having his first child a few years ago.
"I don't go out there like that looking for trouble. I'm just about me now - work and taking care of my sons," he said.