BAKESFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — New data from the police dept. shows Bakersfield has reached a grim milestone — a record number of lives lost to violence. The most recent killing stole the life of a 17-year-old. This comes as many other forms of crime surged this year.
Bakersfield police were called to Olmo Court near Cardiff Avenue just after 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night for a report of a shooting. First responders say 17-year-old Gerald Anthony Davis Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We lost a life last night, of a juvenile,” said Sgt. Robert Pair of the Bakersfield Police Dept. “There has been a surge of violence throughout the state.”
BPD says at least 60 people have been killed within the city limits so far this year. That’s 33% more than last year’s all-time high of 45 homicides.
“It’s no surprise to anyone. It’s a continuation. We left 2020 in a particularly violent year,” said Sgt. Pair. “These types of events don’t exist in a vacuum. One murder or shooting often causes a chain reaction of events.”
17 News data say three children were the victims of homicides this year. Stay Focused Ministries works with the families impacted by violence.
“These young kids, they’re not thinking about life. They’re not thinking about tomorrow,” said Manuel Carrizales, Founder of Stay Focused Ministries. “That’s why we’re here to mentor them, encourage them. You were not meant to be a gang member, you were not meant to be a drug addict. You were made to win.”
Other crimes surged in Bakersfield as well. For example, city residents reported a record number of catalytic converter thefts. Thieves stole 2,224 so far this year. That’s up from 561 last year, and just 179 in 2019.
“I don’t think you can know somebody in Bakersfield that hasn’t been, or doesn’t know somebody that’s been a victim of catalytic converter theft,” said Sgt. Pair. “Ultimately you can take preventative measures such as parking in well-traveled, well-lit areas. Not everyone in our community has access to a garage but that’s a great way to protect your vehicle.”
If you or your family has been affected by violence, you can reach out to Stay Focused Ministries.
You can find more information on their website, or by calling them at 661-322-4673.