STOCKTON, CA - If the month of January comes to a close without a homicide in Stockton, it will be the first month since April, 2011, without a killing in the city.
Last year, the city set a record with 71 homicides, which followed a record in 2011 when there were 58 murders. So far, 2013 has seen huge improvements, which allows Stockton police homicide detectives to re-visit older cases that haven't been settled.
"We are definitely getting out and getting more follow-up done than hadn't been done, that can be done," said Sgt. Rich Ridenour with the homicide and robbery unit.
He acknowledged detectives with fewer cases can do more thorough work on the cases they have.
Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones offered a list of factors contributing to Stockton's reduced homicide rate, but he focused on two. The police department's Community Response Teams are assigned solely to the task of focusing on the city's most dangerous neighborhoods and people. Also, people with information about specific crimes have been more willing to talk with police.
"By us going into neighborhoods and setting up meetings, re-establishing bridges, it's beginning to pay off," said Jones. "We're getting more information and intelligence. We can't do it without the information."