October 18, 2012
Despite an uptick in gun violence, Seaside Police Chief Vicki Meyers told a few hundred residents at a community meeting Tuesday night that violent crimes overall—like homicides, rapes and larceny—in the city have decreased by almost 15 percent.
But shootings are definitely on the rise.
In 2012, Seaside has experienced two homicides and a total of 18 shootings in which 12 people were wounded. In 2011, there were only eight shootings as of October 16.
Meyers says all of the shootings this year have been related to local gang activity. During a Q&A, a resident asked her why the police were not doing more, Meyers explained that the city’s efforts consist of intervention, prevention and suppression.
“Police takes care of suppression, but we need the community to take care of the rest,” Meyers says. “You got to be involved. Law enforcement cannot do it alone.”
Meyers encouraged residents to be aware in their neighborhoods by reporting any suspicious activity to the police and to know their neighbors better.
One resident asked how she can best identify criminals by their ethnicity or clothing.
“There are no color lines in these gangs. They are blended,” Patrol Commander Chris Veloz says.
Meyers says that since Jan. 1, Seaside police have seized 33 weapons and have charged 70 with parole violations. The department estimates there are about 232 known gang members in Seaside.
Last weekend’s Seaside homicide victim, Jorge Diaz, was also the victim of an Aug. 23 shooting in Marina that happened as he was escorting his pregnant wife to an appointment at the Monterey Health Clinic.
Diaz, 20, was shot and killed while standing on the 1600 block of San Lucas Street last Friday night. Earlier that night, suspects in a dark-colored vehicle shot at a group of several people standing outside of a home on the 5100 block of Coe Avenue. It was the same house shot at the prior week, leaving a 19-year-old man and one of the shooting suspects wounded.