One of five Bakersfield shooting victims lies behind barrier tape between Bear Mountain Sports and A-1 Battery at Weedpatch Highway and Di Miller Drive just south of Highway 58 on Wednesday night.

Kern County hit a milestone earlier this week: The county's homicide count for the year reached 105, up from 100 last year and marking the second year in a row the county has seen 100 or more homicides, according to coroner's office records.

The 2018 tally is the highest number of homicides since the county's electronic case management system went into effect in 2009, Coroner Division Chief Dawn Ratliff said. 

Numbers for 2016 were not immediately available, but records showed there were 81 homicides countywide in 2015.

Kern also has the unfortunate distinction of the highest homicide rate in the state with 9.9 homicides per 100,000 people, according to 2017 statistics compiled by the state Attorney General's Office. 

Sheriff's Cmdr. Adam Plugge said there's no one answer as to why homicides are high this year. It's not a crime like burglaries, for instance, where if three locations have been hit in a certain area law enforcement can devote resources to try and prevent a fourth.

Homicides occur for all reasons. It could be a spousal abuse situation, Plugge said, or gang-related or involve an argument over drugs. There is no predicting when or where a killing will occur.

As far as preventative measures, Plugge said the Sheriff's Office will continue with its programs reaching out to gang members, dealing with those suffering a mental health crisis and in-custody settings where efforts are made to try to convince those in trouble to turn their lives around.

Wesley Davis Jr., a community activist who lost his son, Wendale, 16, to gang violence 12 years ago, said his initial reaction to this year's homicide number is "that's horrible, it's terrible." But he believes gang violence is down, and, like Plugge, said there can be many reasons as to why there were so many homicides this year.

To help effect change, Davis said he'll continue to focus on early intervention programs to persuade youth to stay out of gangs. Children need mentorship and positive role models, he said, and the earlier they get that the better. 

"I think that’s the ultimate answer for the reduction of these murders and this violence, period," Davis said. 

(8) comments


Pray for Wesley Davis and assist the Wendale Davis Foundation if you have the means. Mr. Davis walks the streets where his son was murdered and engages the gang members that took his own son’s life. He’s experienced this tragedy first hand and is working to create solutions. He needs and deserves everyone’s support. It will not come from government!


It seems to me there are better statistics available than those presented in this story. The following link presents a different view, siting data from the FBI. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the information but it is worth a look. Kern County is not the most dangerous place in California by a long shot. Our crime rate is nothing to be proud of but we need perspective.

Gary Crabtree

9.9 per 100k? That means Kern County has a population of 990,000. NOT. You could live in Chicago where the rate is 17.5 per 100k or St. Louis who leads the nation at 59.3 per 100k. Salinas leads California.


Build the Wall.....


My god, Bakersfield California, please ban this racist account from posting here. To insinuate that it is mostly immigrants committing these crimes, when there are multiple articles of crimes (including homicide) featuring WHITE MEN on the News section of this website today alone, is beyond incomprehensible. Stop allowing your news site to be infected by people who don't use actual facts in their arguments, and instead rely on racism.


Concern for national security doesn't necessarily imply racism. I have observed several comments of yours, "LogicalPOV," which indicate your screen name is a misnomer.


Ah yes . . . "The Wall" . . . ! As noted in 'other' news resources, the "caravan" was a significant source of concern due to young males of varying ethnicity (appearance) without families, obviating 'racism'. Political issues remain requiring not only physical barriers (NSEW), but also sea & air. To characterize otherwise is faux ignorance . . . and why POTUS has the option to exercise other means beyond MilDef budget and other (Martial/HabCorp) to stem the tide of this 'invasion'..
BTW, "Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as amended (Crime Control Act)--may not discriminate on the basis of sex or religion in addition to race, color, or national origin" (or age)
Semper Fortis . . . !



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