Merced and Monterey County have been ranked with the highest homicide rate in the state of California, according to a new report from the Department of Justice. Both counties have a homicide rate of 10 per 100,000 residents from 2009 to 2010. Only the 35 most populous counties were considered for the rankings, and for the second year in a row Monterey topped the list. Gang activity in particular is to blame for Monterey’s murder rate, and the city of Salinas is where almost half of the homicides occurred. In Merced, homicides rose by 27 percent in 2010 and gang-related crime is also to blame.
However, there is good news overall, as the state as a whole saw its homicide rate fall to its lowest level in more than four decades; in fact, the rate fell by nearly 8 percent. Other highlights from the Department of Justice report are as follows:
- “80.3 percent of homicide victims were male, 19.7 percent were female.
- 44.5 percent of homicide victims were Hispanic, 29.6 percent were black, 18.2 percent were white, and 7.4 percent were categorized as "other."
- Females were more likely to be killed in their residence, while males were more likely to be killed on streets or sidewalks.
- When the victim-offender relationship was identified, 44.4 percent (the largest proportion) involved victims who were killed by friends or acquaintances. However a greater percentage of black victims were killed by strangers than were white or Hispanic victims (47.7 vs. 25.4 and 35.4, respectively).
- Of homicides where the weapon was identified, the majority (71.2 percent) involved a firearm.
- Of the homicides where the contributing circumstances were known, 36.1 percent were gang-related.”
Placer County was ranked with the lowest homicide rate at .6 per 100,000 residents. News coverage on the rankings can be seen here: