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Annual San Joaquin County coroner report shows recent rise in homicide deaths

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Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:07 am, Thu Jun 21, 2012.

The annual report from the San Joaquin County Coroner's Office detailed one of the most deadly years in the area to date, with homicides and suicides on the rise.

According to the county coroner, the number of homicides in 2011 spiked 37 percent from 2010.

The office's annual report breaks down the number of deaths investigated by the coroner in a calendar year.

According to the report, 707 total cases were investigated by the coroner. Of those 707 cases, 93 were homicides, a majority of which were committed through the use of a handgun.

While the spike is in large part due to the increase in violence in Stockton, Lodi saw a doubling of its homicides in 2011.

On average, Lodi police handle one homicide every year. In 2011, there were two. So far, Lodi has already seen two homicides this year.

According to Lodi Police Chief Mark Helms, both homicides in 2011 were shootings, and both were gang-related.

To try and prevent further gang violence, Helms said the department has increased the response to gang activity, as well as their ability to analyze crime to determine where their presence and resources are needed most.

"We are focusing on the worst of the worst offenders," he said. "Those are the people we want to take off the streets."

Countywide, similar efforts are being made to ensure the safety of the public, said Detective Dave Konecny of the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office.

Konecny said the large demise of police presence in Stockton was a contributing factor to the rise in homicides, but that a task force is now in place in Stockton to focus on gang prevention.

"They will be bringing down numbers with the resources that they have," he said.

Apart from a rise in homicides and suicides, there was a noticeable dip in motor vehicle accidents in recent years, something Konecny attributes to outside groups helping local law enforcement raise awareness for driving safely.

While motor vehicle accidents slightly rose from 2010 to 2011, the overall amount of those who perished in accidents involving cars has dropped significantly in the past four years — from 123 in 2007 to 83 in 2011.

"Everybody working with DUI checkpoints and a greater presence with (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) have played a factor in getting those numbers down," Konecny said.

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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1 comment:

  • William Dawes posted at 7:53 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    William Dawes Posts: 113

    Katie, was it homicide by handgun or by gang members? Guns don't go off by themselves

     

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