Friday, April 28, 2006

escalating homicides in Eden

The escalating number of homicides is a great problem here in the Bay Area. There has got to be something more that churches can do in our local communities.

In the city of Oakland, there were 94 homicide victims in 2005, which is 6 more than in 2004.

So far this year, there have been 39 homicide victims -- a number that was not reached until July of last year, triggering concerns that the city could see the number of homicides reach triple-digits for 2006.

According to reports many of these slaying were gang-related killings, retaliation or revenge slayings, and several are drug-related.

The killings were senseless, mostly involving young men, making a name for themselves, a police officer said.

The commander of the homicide unit, Lt. Jim Emery says: “The biggest problem we have is [that] their behavior didn't start (recently)....It started years ago when these young guys were developing, and it got to the point today where they feel it's all right to kill somebody. They don't value life, some of these young guys.''

Sadly this seems to be the trend in other parts of the Bay Area.

In the city of Richmond, the number of violent crimes recorded by the FBI in 2003 was 1,078. The number of murders and homicides was 38. In 2005, violent crime is up by at least 9% the number above, while homicides are up at least 14%.

And just yesterday in a community recreational center in San Francisco, two men walked up to a 22-year old who works at the center and shot him, in the presence of at least 50 other people, many of whom were children.

Says Adrian Williams a community activist who was among the dozens of people who later gathered in front of the center: "It's hard to even let your kids out because you don't know if they'll ever come back to you....The violence just keeps escalating."

Residents of Oakland recently held a March through downtown demanding more protection from police department, which in turn is in need of filling 100 vacancies in its force.

Retired Officer Margaret Dixon, who headed the department's Police Activities League program for many years and still volunteers there, said of these young criminals: “They are doing what they have been seeing. No one has intervened.... But they also want to be accepted and to some this violence is acceptable behavior. We have to change that mindset."

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