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In this file photo, Kern County Sheriff's deputies gather near the scene in southeast Bakersfield in September where officials said six people were found dead from a single gunman.

Kern County experienced the highest homicide rate in California in 2019, the third straight year it's claimed the No. 1 spot, according to a state report.

There were 9.2 homicides per 100,000 residents in Kern last year, according to a report by the state Department of Justice. There were a total of 84 homicides in 2019.

The second-highest county, San Bernardino, experienced 6.7 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer called it "disappointing" that Kern ranked atop the state in homicides per capita. But she noted this year's homicide rate was the lowest since 2015, when it was 7.4 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Kern County had 11.1 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2018, and a rate of 9.9 in 2016 and 2017.

"We were very, very happy that the homicide rate did not go up," Zimmer said.

The major contributing cause for the high number, she said, is gang violence, compounded by the fact that Kern County's population is poorer than most other counties. She also said a rollback of certain laws in recent years has taken away the ability to incarcerate violent people.

Prosecuting homicides is a focus for Zimmer and she said in 2019, her office prosecuted more murders than in any year before. And, because of financial challenges within the county, it was done with fewer deputy district attorneys than other counties of similar size.

The report also showed there were 20 use of force incidents by single agencies in the county last year. The Kern County Sheriff's Office had two, the Bakersfield Police Department had 13, the California City Police Department had one, the Tehachapi Police Department had one and the California Highway Patrol had three.

Use of force also resulted in one civilian death each for the Kern County Sheriff's Office and Bakersfield, California City and Tehachapi police departments. All four were Hispanic males between 18 to 45 years old, the report said.

From a statewide perspective, Kern County ranked eighth-highest on use-of-force incidents. Los Angeles County had the highest total with 190, followed by San Bernardino County (95), Riverside (61), San Diego County (51), Orange County (47), Sacramento County (25) and Santa Clara County (24).

One BPD officer and two CCPD officers were injured last year, while two KCSO deputies suffered serious bodily injuries.

According to the report, there were three individuals sentenced to death in California last year, including one from Kern.

There were also seven hate crime events in the county in 2019.

Overall, the state saw decreases in homicide rate (4.5 percent), robbery rate (4.5 percent), motor vehicle theft rate (9.6 percent) and total adult and juvenile arrest rates (3.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively).


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(6) comments

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Go ahead and report my post reminding you're an idiot if it hurts your feelings. Get it deleted, but it doesn't change the fact you are truly an idiot.

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Dweeb, thank you again for proving you're a first class idiot.


Really ‘deeb, Guardians? What, do you think we are in the Marvel comic universe? You really need to stop believing everything you read off the internet and actually do some real research. That means actually finding facts on your own to validate or not what Is in the articles you read or part of the news shows you watch. It’s called becoming informed vs being brainwashed. I am sure that is scary for you, but it will help you to stop making asinine comments on a regular basis.

Defunding police is one of the stupidest movements I have ever heard of. Law enforcement needs to make some changes to how they conduct business, no question. But reduce or eliminate, not a wise idea. Look at the CHAZ/CHOP in Seattle. No cops and they didn’t make it 3 weeks and they had murders, assaults, rapes, and other violent crimes. Now their clueless mayor had to send the cops in to clean it up. Like Newsom, she needs to be recalled for not being competent enough to make the tough decisions when necessary.


I hate to say this, but when I grew up there, I learned early on that Kern County was THE #1 murder county in the US. LOTS of racial hatred between the po whites in Oildale, the blacks on Cottonwood Road, the Mexican/Latino populations and other poor folks. I was raised in La Cresta. Back then it was 1 of the 3 best neighborhoods, along with Stockdale and West Bakersfield/southern Westchester. Of course there were NO problems in those neighborhoods (And if there was, it was NEVER spoken about nor reported in the paper!). VERY tragic IMHO. Will any of this hatred ever change which causes so much violence?


The homicide rate in Kern County has very little to do with "racial hatred". Check the facts, most homicides are Black on Black, Hispanic on Hispanic and White on White. I'm not so foolish to think there isn't "racial hatred" in Kern County, of course there is, but it isn't the driving force in the number of homicides.


Here's a clue: Kern County District Attorney calls it, "disappointing" . That's something you say to a 10 year old when he receives low grades on his report card, not in response to being the county with the most murders in the state with the highest population. Darn it.

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