According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, Stockton is the second most dangerous city in California in regard to violent crime.
That report — which identified 10 cities with populations of 100,000 or more with the highest rates of violent crime per 1,000 residents — also determined that Stockton was one of the top-10 most dangerous cities in the country.
The national list is topped by Flint, Mich., followed by Detroit, St. Louis, Oakland, Memphis, Little Rock, Ark., Birmingham, Ala., Atlanta, Baltimore and Stockton.
Tracy Police Department Chief Gary Hampton said it’s critical for police chiefs to be aware of crime within the region, not just in a specific community.
“(There are) so many contributing factors to what drives crime up,” Hampton said. “How we deploy public safety, standards for quality of life, what social norms are in a community.”
But Hampton noted that the two cities — Tracy, with a population of 81,000, and Stockton, with a population of 291,000 — are cut from different cloth when it comes to crime and demographics.
“Tracy and Stockton, although in the same county, we are much different,” he said. “We are a suburban community, and Stockton is more representative of an urban community.”
Hampton said a number of factors contribute to crime patterns, including economic, social, geographical and environmental variables. And Tracy’s crime statistics show a much safer community than its neighbor about 15 miles to the northeast.
According to Tracy police crime analyst Janice Cree, Tracy has had two homicides, 31 robberies, two rapes and 26 aggravated assaults so far in 2012. In 2011, Tracy police recorded zero homicides, 68 robberies, 12 rapes and 58 aggravated assaults.
That equates to 7.5 violent crimes for each 10,000 residents so far in 2012, or less than one per 1,000. Meanwhile, Stockton’s 2012 rate is about seven violent crimes for each 1,000 residents, according to Press calculations.
“Stockton is a different environment than Tracy,” Hampton said. “Not saying better or worse — saying it’s different.”
According to statics provided by the Stockton Police Department, as of Wednesday, June 27, Stockton had 32 homicides, 626 robberies, 46 rapes and 1,294 aggravated assaults in 2012 — on pace to surpass the city’s crime numbers for 2011, when 58 homicides, 1,323 robberies, 90 rapes and 2,684 aggravated assaults were reported.
Stockton police spokesman Joey Silva said that to combat Stockton’s crime problem, Chief Eric Jones initiated a number of programs, including the creation of a proactive team to focus on high-crime neighborhoods; the hiring of 10 more officers; and the return of monitoring of city cameras in troubled neighborhoods.
“When we experienced budget cuts and limited resources in the last two years, we had to eliminate some of the proactive units to handle calls of service,” Silva said, which included narcotics, downtown bike patrols and community police officers.
Not proud of being listed as one of the 10 most crime-ridden cities in the nation, Silva said the chief’s recent actions were steps in the right direction.