In California's Silicon Valley boom and bust take place simultaneously. Tech companies have made the Bay Area one of the richest places in the world. However, despair is increasingly visible on the streets of San Francisco and the surrounding cities. A worsening real estate crisis has made it unaffordable for many people to live in the cities where they work. More than 30,000 people in the region are now homeless, many living in spacious camps or sleeping in their cars.
For every new millionaire household that the San Francisco Bay Area has spawned, there are at least four new people living below poverty levels. San Francisco's real estate crime rate has risen to the nation's highest level. Many people ̵
At the same time, the Bay Area murder rate has fallen dramatically with little enthusiasm, reflecting a significant decline in fatal shootings.  Throughout the region, the murder rate of weapons has fallen 30% in the last decade. This resulted in an investigation of the Guardian murder data in more than 100 cities.
This murder analysis is the first installment in a year-long Guardian series to examine how Bay Area, despite growing inequality and economic pressures, defies expectations of armed force. Advocates and policymakers are already looking in the region for what works. A 2020 candidate, Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey, has cited Oakland's success in reducing gun violence on its national nationwide violence reduction platform. The Guardian series will examine what really helps to reduce daily shootings in the US and expose common myths and lies about gun violence in the country.
Our analysis of 2007 to 2017 murder data on more than 100 cities and communities in the 12 California Bay Area counties found that:
- Gun murder rates declined in all racial groups, but the decline was in blacks the biggest.
- The dramatic decline came when the reform of California's criminal justice system reduced the number of detainees held in state and local prisons. And it came when cities, including Oakland and Richmond, invested tens of millions of dollars in public health measures to prevent gun violence.
- In three cities undergoing intensive gentrification, murder cases on weapons fell the most. However, in the remote suburbs – the cities where many inhabitants displaced by gentrification have moved – the violence did not increase accordingly.
- Despite the decline, there are still strong racial differences in the weight of the force of arms, and many locals claim they continue to use no force. I'm not sure.
The Bay Area still kills nearly 300 firearms each year. But these changes are profound. The majority of gun killers in the US are blacks killed in everyday shootings in deprived neighborhoods like Oakland and Richmond. It is this everyday number of acts of violence, not weapons of mass destruction, that increases America's murder rate 25-fold than that of other wealthy countries.
How have things changed?
In Bay Area Towns, Historically the Worst Than Ever Experience The daily number of firearms has plummeted, as the Guardian analysis shows.
Cities, once one of the nation's deadliest, like Oakland and Richmond, have seen a huge decline over the last decade. This is not a one-year decline in the murders, but declines that lasted for several years.
There are initial indications that local violence prevention strategies – including a refocused, more societally focused "ceasefire" police strategy and more intensive assistance programs that do not include law enforcement at all – this was a "key change", which contributed to these huge declines.
The murder rates of weapons have fallen in all races, but the decline was greatest among residents of the Black Bay Area: a 40% decline.
Tens of thousands of blacks have emigrated from Oakland and San Francisco over the past 10 years as skyrocketing rents and house prices have made cities increasingly prohibitive. However, throughout the region, the total number of blacks has remained constant as the number of blacks living in the outskirts of the Bay Area has risen, according to estimates from the annual census.
These areas are still dangerous. It's the same trauma that people go through
Mya Whitaker, Youth Advisor
Despite the decline, strong racial differences remain. The risk of being killed with a weapon is still 22 times higher for black people throughout the region than for white people. Many black people living in violent neighborhoods claim they are not feeling safe yet.
"These areas are still dangerous. It's the same trauma people go through, "said Mya Whitaker, a 27-year-old youth counselor who grew up in East Oakland and still lives there. "A wrong move can cause you to be killed out here."
"There is still much that the statistics do not always capture," said Tyjohn "TJ" Sykes, 26, who works at the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond and runs a workshop on security for young residents. "Someone could come and shoot every night through your neighborhood, but if they do not hit anyone and it's not recorded, it does not increase my sense of security."
The decline in violence as a whole did not bring about a corresponding decline in police shootings. According to reports by the Attorney General, on average, at least 14 people were killed by the police each year, most of them by gunshots, but some in different ways.
However, changing the murder rate of firearms has resulted in hundreds of fewer people being killed in the Bay Area over the past decade. In 2017 alone, 111 weapon killings and 151 homicides were committed less in the region than a decade earlier.
Who benefits from this?
As officials in cities such as Oakland have touted the advances in armed force, they have repeatedly faced the same question: is the decline in armed force merely a consequence of gentrification?
Local leaders and activists said the assumption was profoundly flawed.
"The idea that gentrification is more responsible for reducing shootings and killings is offensive to the hundreds of contact persons, community members and practitioners at the front every day doing this job," said Pastor Michael McBride, an activist from the Bay Area, which heads a national campaign to end gun violence and mass incarceration.
An academic study of gun violence in the neighborhoods of Oakland revealed that the city pursued a deliberate deterrent strategy "truce" significantly reduced the shooting, even though the degree of gentrification was considered in different areas. Violence comes at the same time in one intense gentrification and expulsion raises troubling questions for some on-site activists about who can benefit from living in a safer Oakland – and whose interest could ultimately serve to reduce the shootings.
Some violent interventions According to Anne Marks, executive director of Youth ALIVE!, A local non-profit organization, prices have been set for workers in Oakland. They can no longer afford to live in the city, where they prevent shootings and help survivors of violence. 19659039] Are we cleaning up the city so other people can move in?
Wayne Clark, Oakland Impact Center
Wayne Clark, managing director of Oakland Impact Center, said that for the young men he teaches in East Oakland, sometimes "the system or public safety, cares more about the city now that there is gentrification and you have big companies and dollars and white people move in, "Clark said. "It used to be just a city of poor people, and we'll just let them kill each other."
"If we make the city safer, are we opening the floodgates more for gentrification? That's the way it feels," Clark said. "Are we cleaning up the city for other people to move in?"
Why is this happening now?
It may not be possible to determine exactly which factors determine changes in the Bay Area, experts say. Violence is complex, characterized by a multitude of elements and dynamics. However, some other trends are clear.
The decline in gun violence in the Bay Area does not reflect the decline in total "crime". The number of property crimes, such as theft and burglary, has fallen by only 16% in the region, as gun violence has fallen by almost a third. In San Francisco, the crime rate of property crime has increased, although the number of people killed in weapons killings has fallen.
The reform of the criminal justice system has reduced the number of residents who live their lives behind bars. Since 2006, California's state prison population has dropped 25%, partly due to a voter-led election that reduced penal sanctions for non-violent drug offenses and thefts in 2014. The Bay Area district jail detains thousands less every day than it did a decade ago.
California has the country's most stringent gun laws and, according to Robyn, more than 30 new arms control laws have been enacted since 2009 alone, Thomas, the executive director of the Giffords Law Center's Preventing Armed Force, which tracks arms legislation across the country.
At the same time, Thomas said, "It would have been expected that some of the laws passed in the past 10 years would completely explain the significant savings in the Bay Area. "
It was investment in local prevention strategies in Oakland, Richmond and San Francisco that were probably the" key change "that most significantly impacted the recent 30% decline in homicide cases, she argued. although the "cumulative effect" of dozens of Californian weapons laws that have come into force since the 1990s has probably contributed to a decline in violence.
Right-wing extremist politicians have stepped up their efforts to combat xenophobia in recent years by linking violent crime to immigration. But the Bay Area has long been racially and ethnically diverse, and diversity has increased in the last decade as more and more Latin American and Asian immigrants immigrated and more and more white residents have moved away, according to census data. According to the latest estimates, around 600,000 residents of the Bay Area were born in Mexico. And in the last ten years, the number of immigrants from the Central American states of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras has risen.
Also, measures to protect undocumented immigrants did not lead to violence, as Donald Trump and some of his Republican allies often warn. San Francisco saw a 44% reduction in the rate of murder of weapons as it complied with immigration law enforcement.
According to a report recently released by the Giffords Center, local efforts to play a role in the reduction published a strategy paper investigating the reduction of gun violence in Oakland entitled "A Case Study in Hope".
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So, what does it actually work for?
At the heart of the different strategies that Bay Area cities use are the same basic elements: data, dollars, and community leadership, including the leadership of formerly detained residents.
"The common context between each of these cities – Richmond, Oakland and San Francisco – is that they have pursued community-based approaches without prosecution and been solidly funded," said DeVone Boggan, who led the neighborhood security office in Richmond developed a nationally recognized community program for men with the highest risk of violence.
"We need to broaden the idea of what public safety is beyond policing and detention to include such intervention, publicity and neighborhood empowerment," said Boggan. "That's the game changer, that's the difference."
According to experts throughout the region, longtime social workers and violent troublemakers, many of whom have been detained earlier, are crucial to making these public health policies effective.
Those behind the violence have helped law enforcement agencies, social services and community groups intervene more effectively. In Oakland, for example, a study over 18 months in 2017 found that only 0.16% of the population of Oakland, some 700 high-risk men, were responsible for the majority of the murders.
Recognize the individual men who choose not to shoot, Boggan said.
"The people at the heart of these conflicts are making healthier decisions," Boggan said. "I think these people have to be a productive part of the solution. They must be hugged and brought into the discussion.
One of the first participants in Richmond's scholarship program graduated from college last year and is preparing to open a trade school in the fall.
"Gun violence is pretty much a form of the disease. Once it affects a person, it starts to spread, "said the former fellow who asked not to disclose his name.
In the summer of 2004 he was shot dead as a 16-year-old high school student listening to the fireworks of July 4 in his hometown Richmond. Shooting changed his perspective – and his behavior.
"I did not even think about wearing anything, I played football, and suddenly I think I need a weapon," he said.
He was sent to prison for illegally carrying a gun Years later, the Peacemaker Scholarship from the Office of Neighborhood Safety sent him on trips, including to Washington, DC and London, with other young men involved in the long cycle of local fighting and retaliation. Realizing a new vision for his life. In the end, he graduated from the historically black college he had visited on one of the trips – a place where "I did not have to look over my shoulder."
"Having somebody who believes in you and knows you have the potential to try it, and things like that make you want to keep going, "he said.