Monterey County Tops List of California Youth Homicide Rates in 2010
January 10, 2012
For the second straight year Monterey County topped the list of youth homicide rates in California counties according to "Lost Youth: A County-by-County Analysis of 2010 California Homicide Victims Ages 10-24" released today by the Violence Policy Center.
Monterey County recorded a homicide rate of 24.36 per 100,000 youth and young adults ages 10 to 24 in 2010 with, down from a 31.24 per 100,000 in 2009. Alameda and San Joaquin counties ranked second and third respectively in 2010 with approximately 18 homicides per 100,000 young people.
According to Brian Contreras, executive director of the Second Chance Youth Program in Salinas, the numbers jibe with the cities homicide statistics and paint a picture of where officials need to address change.
“In 2009 we had 100 percent gun related, gang related and hispanic related homicides. In 2010 there was a drop in homicides and they weren’t all gang-related,” Contreras says.
The silver lining in the bloody report is that the homicide victimization rate for youth and young adults statewide dropped from 10.48 in 2009 to 8.48 in 2010.
The study took into account weapons used, location, relationship, gender, race and ethnicity of victims.
Of the 680 homicides in California in 2010 involving victims ages 10 to 24, 89 percent were male, 53 percent were Hispanic, 34 percent were black and 7 percent were white. The overall rate for black victims was a staggering 22 times higher than for white victims.
Though not all the homicides were understood as well as others, the 500 homicides that were investigated thoroughly enough to establish cause and/or motive found that 64 percent were gang-related.
With 87 percent of victims killed by gunfire, more specifically handguns, firearms were far and away the most predominant cause of death in terms of youth violence in 2010. The study concluded that “homicide, and particularly gun homicide, continues to be one of the most pressing public health concerns in California among youth and young adults ages 10 to 24.”
“There is a lot of positive effort, but its sad we’re still addressing the violence issue,” Contreras says. And although he’s confident Monterey County will drop from its perch of nasty No. 1 in the near future, significantly lowering violence in the area altogether is “going take another 10 to 20 years.”