Twenty-five young people were victims of homicide in San Diego County in 2011, a statistic that ranks the county's youth homicide rate 23rd in the state, a study released Wednesday reported.
Twenty-six young people were killed the year prior, according to "Lost Youth: A County-by-County Analysis of 2011 California Homicide Victims Ages 10 to 24.” The annual study by the Violence Policy Center analyzes unpublished California Department of Justice Supplementary Homicide Report data.
In 2011, 631 youths and young adults were killed in California.
Overall, the youth homicide rate in the state is declining, from 31.24 per 100,000 in 2009 to 16.96 per 100,000 in 2011, the study reported.
In San Diego County, the number of youths killed in homicides since 2009, the first year the "Lost Youth" study was conducted, is nearly unchanged.
San Diego County's youth homicide rate of 3.61 per 100,000 ranks the area 23rd out of 35 counties included in the study. California counties without a population of at least 25,000 youth and young adults between the ages of 10 to 24 were omitted.County County Ranking by Rate Number of Homicide Victims Homicide Rate per 100,000 2009 2010 2011 2009 2010 2011 2009 2010 2011 San Diego County 27 22 23 26 26 25 4.03 3.73 3.61
Throughout the state, firearms—usually handguns—are the weapon of choice in the homicides of youth and young adults, according to the study.
- Of the 625 homicides for which the murder weapon could be identified, 83 percent of victims died by gunfire. Of these, 73 percent were killed with handguns.
- There were 70 victims (11 percent) killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 11 victims (2 percent) killed by a blunt object, and 8 victims (1 percent) killed by bodily force.
The study also shows that there are vast demographic disparities: in California, young African-Americans are more than 18 times more likely to be murdered than young whites; young Hispanics are more than four times more likely to be murdered than young whites.
- 91 percent of homicide victims ages 10-24 in 2011 were male and 9 percent were female.
- 55 percent were Hispanic, 32 percent black, 8 percent white, 5 percent Asian, and less than one percent were “other.”
The victim-to-offender relationship was identified in just over half of the 631 homicides. In those cases, one-third of victims were killed by someone they knew and more than half were murdered by a stranger. Another 15 percent were gang-motivated slayings.
Across the state, San Joaquin County has the most severe youth violence mortality rate, with 35 homicide victims ages 10 to 24, a rate 21.29 per 100,000.
More young people were killed in other, more populous counties, though. Los Angeles County experienced 207 homicide deaths for this age group and, in Northern California, Alameda County was the most violent, with 50 youth killed in homicides, according to the study.
Locally, three men have been who was found mortally wounded March 14, 2012, in a home on the 8200 block of Mt. Vernon Street in Lemon Grove.
Alfredo Hayes, 19, Eugene Lucious Veal, 19, and Dasaun Romann Roberts, 20, each face first-degree murder charges. A trial date has not been set, but the defendants are next due in court for a hearing March 19.