SALINAS, Calif. —At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Police Chief Kelly McMillin presented a gangs and firearms report that analyzed all 76 homicides that happened in Salinas from 2010-2013.
Salinas has 23 active gangs, and gangsters make up .5 percent of the city’s total population. About 90 percent of homicides were gang-related, the report states.
Fatal and non-fatal shootings are concentrated in East Salinas neighborhoods where a large number of gangs and gang turfs exist.
“There’s a wild misconception about Salinas that’s kind of just this wild west, and that’s just not the case,” McMillin said.
“Firearms violence is contained to pretty much a small group of primarily young men who have extreme juvenile records and multiple arrests for violence in their past. These are the young men who are doing the shootings and these are the ones getting shot” the police chief said.
The most likely person in Salinas to die in a homicide is a Latino man between 17-25 years old who is an active Norteno or Sureno gang member, has an extensive criminal history, and lives in East Salinas, the report found.
“This is a report to the City Council so they’re aware of who’s at risk, and who’s not, of gun violence,” McMillin said.
McMillin said given the current fiscal environment, the police department is only able to address a certain segment of the violent community.
“We’re going to need to grow police department, and grow our violence prevention and intervention efforts that are going on,” McMillin said. “And we struggle to maintain that now given our current fiscal environment.”
On top of hiring more officers, the chief said the addition of a crime analyst will support intelligence efforts in cracking down on gang members. McMillin said the Salinas Police Department had a crime analyst, but the person left about a year ago to take another job in the San Francisco Bay Area.