The Record: Residents taking back Stockton

October 30, 2012 

October has been one of the worst times in one of the best cities.

Violence has swept through Stockton, driving the homicide rate to a record 60 killings this year, including eight homicides and a related suicide in just one 51-hour period.

The mayhem has police officers and detectives stretched thinner in a department already stretched tighter than the head of a drum.

All this is being visited on a town trying to climb out of a horrid downturn in real estate, deal with a jobless rate above the state average and salvage a city government in bankruptcy court.

But Stocktonians aren't walking away. They are forming Neighborhood Watch groups and are starting to be more cooperative with police.

Violence, unfortunately, is part of the human condition. No amount of police work, for example, could have stopped an area marriage counselor, who specialized in anger management, from taking a handgun and killing his ex-wife, her sister and their aging aunt before killing himself. Gangs, drug houses and the anti-social activities that make life miserable for so many are another matter. Stopping it takes citizens getting mad and deciding they won't take it anymore.

Stocktonians -- citizens of a beautiful city with great offerings and huge potential -- are mad. They must now work with police and prosecutors to take back their town.

--The Record (Stockton), Monday

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