Oxnard Police Chief Jeri Williams sent a lengthy message to residents after weeks of violence that has left one young man dead and others wounded by gunfire and what is now attributed to gang violence.
Williams released the following statement Tuesday night:
The past couple weeks have been difficult for us as a community. We have a concern about the increased crime in Oxnard, and I wanted to share an update with everyone tonight. We have had 12 violent gang crimes since the beginning of October. Nine have been felony assaults, two have been attempt homicides and one has been a murder. Ten of these 12 have involved guns. Furthermore, seven of the 12 crimes have occurred within the Colonia neighborhood. Many of the victims have been gang members and, unfortunately, they usually do not cooperate with the Police in investigating the crimes. However, we have learned that a few of the assaults have occurred within the gang, meaning both the victim and the suspect belong to the Colonia gang. The men and woman of the Oxnard Police Department have been working around the clock, 24-hours a day on the recent string of criminal activity in Oxnard. We are currently stretched very thin, with many crime challenges, including a significant increase in property crimes, some recent, serious sexual assaults and a recent increase in robberies, including a series of convenience store robberies.
Although I understand and share the concern we all have of public safety, these more recent violent crimes are not random, they are targeted. We are following up on every available lead, and our expert detectives are committed to solving every one of these crimes.
From the investigative standpoint, we have seized guns in four separate incidents within the last four days. Thus, our efforts have removed loaded guns from our streets—in three of these cases, the individuals we arrested were 18-years or younger. We also served a search warrant early this morning as a result of a recent shooting.
We need the community to share with law enforcement authorities any information of suspicious activity, no matter how trivial they think their tip may be—our lead detectives will put all of it together. I have full-confidence.
We are committed to doing everything we can to prevent as many of these violent crimes. Our immediate efforts include:
- Saturation and high visibility patrols.
- Increased patrol and traffic staffing, and,
- Gang/Special Enforcement Unit (SEU) deployment in the Colonia neighborhood.
Yesterday, a group of concerned community members met in Colonia to discuss strategies and commitments to improve public safety in our community. I, as Chief, and the Department, will take every opportunity to meet with, and work with, the community to address this problem.
At the most basic level, this problem is one that we share with many communities across the United States: the problem of guns in America—especially in the hands of individuals who should not be in possession. Communities across the country, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Newtown and Aurora, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and DC and many more are and have been dealing with similar problems—Oxnard is no exception.
We are again asking the public’s assistance in providing more information; even if one wishes to remain anonymous. If you wish to remain anonymous you may call the violent crimes hotline at (805) 982-7070 or Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. You can also visit this site http://www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org/contactus.aspx to submit a tip via text or email. In fact, results from an anonymous tip for the human trafficking case, led us to the arrest of two suspects, and the safety of 11 children.
As a mother and as Chief, I share the concerns that parents and abuelitos communicated to me at our Coffee with the Chief’s this past weekend. I have every confidence in every person at the Oxnard Police Department, and assure you that we will work tirelessly, around the clock, and do everything in our power. Will you? If the last 72-hours are any indication of what our neighborhoods and City can do when we come together with Police, we will come out of this a stronger, safer, and more united community, together.