BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Efforts to make the streets in Bakersfield safer rely heavily on community outreach and constant collaboration. Members of the community met Tuesday night as part of the Bakersfield Safe Streets partnership in efforts to combat gang activity.
The Bakersfield Safe Streets partnership made up of law enforcement and community leaders is a collaborative effort with the community to reduce crime in certain neighborhoods.
“Unfortunately in the city of Bakersfield and the county of Kern we have a number of street gangs,” Bakersfield police Capt. Mike Hale said. “This is an effort to bring people from all over and all walks of life within the community … to troubleshoot and find different ways to reduce that activity and influence these folks who participate in that type of lifestyle.”
The final meeting of the year for the safe streets team was held Tuesday night as the group discussed recent shootings and how they can work together to prevent shootings from taking place.
“Community members here can take that back and know that we are combating these types of activities and trying to prevent them,” Hale said.
Among the community leaders at the meeting are residents who were raised in crime-ridden neighborhoods hoping to help the younger generation.
“I was once out in the streets and God had changed my life,” Rodney Washington of Victory Outreach Southwest Bakersfield said. “I wanted to be able to make a difference in our city.”
A main talking point throughout the meeting talked about being consistent in efforts to help individuals in certain neighborhoods stay off the streets. Most shootings in Bakersfield are gang-related with many young people behind the trigger.
“Let them know that we love you,” Washington said.
With less than a month left in 2019, there have been 88 reported homicides in Kern County. According to our KGET Homicide Tracker, 2018 broke a record for homicides with 113 in Kern County. Although homicides have gone up in Kern County in recent years, efforts like the ones by the safe streets partnership could be making significant impacts.
“I believe that those seeds are being planted and I believe it will make a difference in Kern County,” Washington said.