BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX)— In Bakersfield during the first part of 2021, there have been 19 victims of homicide so far.
Law enforcement fears this year will surpass 2020 rates—a record-breaking deadly year.
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Sgt. Robert Pair with the Bakersfield Police Department says, "We are exceeding last year's numbers."
According to BPD, in 2019 there were 36 victims of homicide in Bakersfield.
In 2020, there was shock when the total surpassed the previous years, at 45 victims.
Now in just four months of 2021 BPD is reporting 19 victims of homicide.
Pair says, "When we compare those with comparable size cities such as Stockton and Fresno, we're still below their numbers, however for us it's a large increase at least for the City of Bakersfield."
The cause of deadly violence in Bakersfield isn't pinpointed to just one reason, though usually it is 50% gang violence, according to BPD.
This year, BPD reports that number is less. However, domestic violence and drug possession cases have increased which could be heavy factors in the alarming statistics.
Pair explains homicides also can't be pinpointed to just one area in Bakersfield.
Pair says, "Historically the East side or East of Highway 99 has higher incidents of violent crimes that are reported."
Just outside of the Bakersfield City limits, brothers Enrique Perez Hernandez and Carlos Perez Hernandez lost their lives within six months of each other.
Danielle Hibler is the sister to the Perez Hernandez brothers.
Hibler says, "Both passed away in the same neighborhood."
The brothers were walking near Cottonwood Avenue— the neighborhood they grew up in.
Family believes they were out too late, making themselves targets. Both were shot and killed.
Hibler was speechless at the weight of the crimes. She says, "Honestly I just can't believe this happened again you just...it's like... I can't believe it happened again...I'm sorry... so it's just like very shocking."
The family coordinated a GoFundMe account to lay Carlos Perez Hernandez to rest.
Sgt. Pair says the Bakersfield Police Department is now turning to the community to help combat the alarming rates.
The department just received new funding to work with local groups to see where patrol and response teams are the most needed.