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County ranks high for youth homicides
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Stanislaus County had the fifth highest rate of youth homicides in California according to a new report from the Violence Policy Center.

The annual study, "Lost Youth: A County-by-County Analysis of 2012 California Homicide Victims Ages 10 to 24," analyzes unpublished data from the California Department of Justice Supplementary Homicide Report and ranks California's counties by their homicide victimization rates for young people 10 to 24 years old.

Stanislaus County was ranked fifth out of the 30 California counties analyzed in the study. Stanislaus County recorded 18 homicides in 2012 involving individuals between the ages of 10 years to 24 years. The county had a youth homicide rate of 14.88 per 100,000 in 2012, the study reported.

Out of the county's 18 youth homicides, 17 of the victims were males and one was a female. Twelve of the victims were Hispanic, three were white, two were black and one
was Asian.

For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 94 percent of the Stanislaus County victims (17 out of 18) were shot and killed with guns. Of these, nine victims were killed with handguns. There was one victim killed with a knife or other cutting instrument. Statewide, of the homicides for which the murder weapon could be identified, 86 percent of homicide victims died by gunfire. Of these, 70 percent were killed with a handgun.

For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 27 percent of the victims (3 out of 11) were murdered by someone they knew. Four were killed by strangers. For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 36 percent (4 out of 11) were gang members, according to the study's data.

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. Four homicides were gang-related, three homicides involved arguments between the victim and the offender, and two homicides were drive-by shootings in the county.

For homicides in which the location could be determined, 41 percent (7 out of 17) occurred on a street, sidewalk, or in a parking lot. Forty-one percent (7 out of 17) occurred in the home of the victim or offender. Twelve percent (2 out of 17) occurred at another residence.
In 2012, there were 646 homicide victims in California ages 10 to 24, at a rate of 8.06 per 100,000. In 2011, the statewide rate for this age group was 7.87 per 100,000. In 2010, it was 8.48 per 100,000. Of the 646 victims, 89 percent were male and 11 percent were female. For homicides in which the race of the victim was identified, 52 percent were Hispanic, 33 percent were black, 9 percent were white, and 4 percent were Asian.

"For too many California youth, the trauma resulting from violence is a pervasive part of daily life," states VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann. "The latest research shows that prevention, intervention, and community engagement - rather than incarceration - are the most effective paths to reducing violence among youth and young adults. In California, many local organizations have established successful programs that reduce violence, improve the lives of youth, and benefit entire communities. These programs are teaching lessons that can, and should, be learned across the nation."