Homicide is the second leading cause of death for California youth and young adults ages 10 to 24 years old. In 2010, the most recent year for which complete data is available from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), homicides in California were outpaced only by unintentional injuries -- the majority of which were motor vehicle fatalities -- as the leading cause of death for this age group. Of the nearly 700 homicides reported, 85 percent were committed with firearms. Nationally in 2010, California had the 14th highest homicide rate for youth and young adults ages 10 to 24.
The primary goal of this series of reports is to offer localized information on the county level in California to better inform citizens,advocates, service providers, and policymakers.
This third edition of this report includes a new section that begins with an assessment of the known impact of "tough on crime" policies (the all-too-frequent default response to violence in general, and youth violence in particular), reviews current national and California-specific prevention-focused violence-reduction efforts, and concludes by highlighting three local California programs that have demonstrated success: Second Chance Family and Youth Services in Salinas; Youth Alive! in Oakland; and, the Gang Reduction and Youth Development Program (GRYD) in Los Angeles.
All too often, the devastating effects of violence are little recognized outside of those who are directly affected. By comparing on a county-by-county level the homicide rates for youth and young adults in California, it is our goal to add a new, ongoing context for information to be presented while helping support discussion, analysis, policy development, and action. Above all, this work is conducted in the belief that information aids in the development of sound prevention strategies -- on the local, state, and national levels.