During 2015 the San Bernardino Police Department investigated 44 homicides. This included the 14 victims of the December 2nd terrorist attack.
So far this year, gun violence has exploded in the city and citizens are dying at a record pace. To date, San Bernardino has experienced at least two dozen homicides.
According to police officials, the majority of this year’s homicide deaths have involved some sort of street gang activity; however, even with this awareness some authorities still cite other factors as major contributors to the increase in homicides. Included among them, the changing of some felonies to misdemeanors in addition to the way some nonviolent offenders are now assigned to county jails versus the state prison system—and yet there is limited data to support this assertion. The one fact that is certain is San Bernardino is experiencing an uptick in gun violence and people are dying in the process.
The police department is doing what it can to stem the tide including stepping up patrols in problem areas; to date however, it just has not been enough to make a difference.
One impediment to the department’s efforts to wrap its arms around the increased violence is the tough reality that the police department remains sorely understaffed. According to officials, the department has been under-staffed nearly 100 officers since austerity measures were taken during the great recession. The San Bernardino Police Department has received authorization to hire additional officers; however, todate, not many candidates have applied.
San Bernardino City Councilwoman Bessine Richard who represents the city’s 6th Ward, has called for the city to come together to identify and implement a meaningful solution. “We need to put together a strategic plan on safety,” she said. “We have to increase safety.”