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California Dream No Reality For Those Impacted By Rise in Violent Crime

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A new CBS News poll shows 68% of Californians believe the issue of crime is very important right now.

The poll also asked, "What would help prevent violent crime?" Results show 72% of Californians answered "more economic opportunity," 68% answered "more mental health services," 49% said "fewer guns available," and 48% said "more funding for police."

In Sacramento, deadly violence played out in Old Sacramento in July. Cell phone video captured a gunfight that left two men dead and two under arrest.

The gunshots went off in what is designed as a family-friendly location under a giant Ferris wheel and across from Laughs Unlimited comedy club.

Jennifer Canfield is the owner of the comedy club and she was inside with customers during the shooting.

"Surreal mostly," Canfield said of the shooting. "There was definitely a time that it was going to peak and seemed to me it was that night."

Across California, homicides are up 30 percent year over year.

"It's, unfortunately, the California dream has become a California nightmare," Berry Accius said.

Accius runs the non-profit organization Voice of the Youth in Sacramento. Tyler McClure works for Voice of the Youth as well.

"There's definitely a jump in crime," McClure said.

"I think we're finally seeing what the results are, with a lack of resources, a lack of opportunities, and a lack of access," Accius said.

Voice of the Youth aims to prevent violence, giving at-risk youth a safe space alternative to streets that can lead down a criminal path.

"You have to get into the heart and the mind of the young people that are using these guns," McClure said.

Their 'Voice of the Youth' pop-up events and programs are small victories in a war on violence caused by what Accius calls a lack of investment by civic leaders.

"Do you know how many kids is (sic) out there that is so far gone that need more than what we can provide," Accius said.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert is running for California State Attorney General, in part to enforce more gun violence laws. She believes the state's massive pandemic unemployment fraud has put money into the hands of convicted criminals buying ghost guns.

"I think there's a tsunami," Schubert said. "We have to have aggressive enforcement because no good deed comes from people who are convicted felons who have illegal weapons in their possession."

It's a rise in gun violence Californians are calling more and more concerning.

"When you have the pandemic hit, you saw how fragile a lot of these communities were," Accius said.

And calls for more investment and enforcement to return to a sense of safety.

"You don't want anybody to fall victim of a violent crime but especially close to your home, and this is home for a lot of us," Canfield said.

In the city of Sacramento alone, there have been 151 people shot through the month of July. That is a 45% increase over last year.

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