Stanislaus County had the seventh highest rate of youth homicides in California according to a new study from the Violence Policy Center.
The annual study, "Lost Youth: A County-by-County Analysis of 2013 California Homicide Victims Ages 10 to 24," analyzes unpublished data from the California Department of Justice Supplementary Homicide Report. The study ranks California's counties by their homicide victimization rates for young people 10 to 24 years old.
Stanislaus County was ranked seventh out of 35 counties in the state, with a youth homicide rate of 13.32 per 100,000 residents between the ages of 10 to 24 years. In 2013, the county recorded 16 homicides within this age range.
Out of 16 homicide victims, 15 were male (94 percent), and one was female (six percent). Eleven were Hispanic (69 percent), four were white (25 percent), and one was Asian/Pacific Islander (six percent).
Out of the 16 youth homicides in Stanislaus County, 81 percent of victims (13 out of 16) were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 77 percent (10 victims) were killed with handguns. There was one victim (six percent) killed with a knife or other cutting instrument.
For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 25 percent of victims (two out of eight) were murdered by someone they knew. Four victims were killed by strangers. For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 25 percent (two out of eight) were gang members.
For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 77 percent (10 out of 13) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 50 percent (five homicides) were gang-related. Forty percent (four homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender. Ten percent (one homicide) were drive-by shootings.
For homicides in which the location could be determined, 44 percent (seven out of 16) occurred on a street, sidewalk, or in a parking lot. Twenty-five percent (four out of 16) occurred in the home of the victim or offender. Six percent (one out of 16) occurred at another residence. Thirteen percent (two out of 16) occurred in a vehicle.
This is the fifth consecutive year that the VPC has released Lost Youth. The ranking information presented in the study applies to 2013, the most recent year for which data was available at the time of research. The study is funded with the support of The California Wellness Foundation.
The study finds that homicide was the second leading cause of death for California youth and young adults ages 10 to 24. For this age group, homicide was the leading cause of death for blacks, the second leading cause of death for Hispanics, and the fourth leading cause of death for whites and Asian/Pacific Islanders.
Firearms were by far the most common weapons used to kill youth and young adults ages 10 to 24. Statewide, of the homicides for which the murder weapon could be identified, 83 percent of homicide victims died by gunfire. Of these, 69 percent were killed with a handgun.
"Most of California's young homicide victims die by gunfire. Comprehensive efforts to reduce youth homicide should take into account the role played by firearms, including what types of weapons are most frequently used and where they come from," states VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann. "Such information, along with localized data, can aid in the prevention and intervention efforts of communities across the state."