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Stockton's Team Aims To Prevent Gun Violence Stemming From Gangs

STOCKTON (CBS13) – As the homicide rate climbs in the first three months of the year, police say non-fatal injury shootings are down by 23 percent compared to this time last year.

The department attributes the decline partly to officers removing guns off the streets from people who should not be in possession of them, but it also credits the work of the city's department of violence prevention.

The agency's staff recently deployed to help families involved in a triple-shooting Saturday, which left a nine-year-old boy in critical but stable condition at UC Davis Medical Center.

Investigators say the shooting appeared targeted, but Adelita Margo worries about her family.

"As a mom of three, it's scary because I can't even take my kids out sometimes," she said.

Last week, the mayor shared the city's homicide rate shot up by 114 percent compared to this time last year.

The startling numbers have people asking what's the city doing about gun violence.

"I understand why the community is feeling that way," said Lora Larson, director for the Office of Violence Prevention.

Since 2012, it began deploying a small group of people, known as peacekeepers, at shootings. Their job is to connect victims and their families to services whether it's relocation or basic needs.

The other part is to intervene and prevent any gun violence stemming from gangs or groups.

As CBS13 covered last Thursday, sometimes they're merely connecting with neighborhoods impacted by violence. It's model is based on the nationwide program, "Operation Ceasefire."

The city's non-deadly shootings slightly dropped recently from 33 to 23 percent compared to this time last year.

CBS13 asked people if they believe the city is making progress.

"The way I see it, a shooting is a shooting," said resident Matthew Lee. " It shouldn't really matter. Yes, it matters when someone dies, but at the same time, the whole point should be no shooting in general."

But the city says their work is making a difference citing that behind-the-scenes work is often confidential.

"We know of situations where we have intervened in where we have diffused situations that could've resulted in other events," she said.

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