Residents of Oak Park, Valley Hi and other neighborhoods where homicides among black youth are more prevalent say it's time to band with law enforcement to stop the problem.
More than 30 neighborhood leaders recently finished a series of violence prevention training sessions, some with the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office.
The trainings were organized by the Black Child Legacy Campaign — a county-supported project that aims to reduce deaths from violence, child abuse, unsafe sleeping and perinatal conditions by 10 to 20 percent by 2020.
Debra Cummings is a longtime community organizer in Del Paso Heights. She often gets calls from neighbors about escalating street conflicts.
She says trainings with the police help her learn where to position herself on the scene and how to stay alert without escalating the situation — as well as how to follow up with anyone involved.
“I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing and giving them the right information and coming back with some wraparound services that are healthy for all our community.”
The death rate among black children between 2010 and 2015 was more than twice the rate of white children and about three times the rate for Latino and Asian children.
The campaign supports prevention efforts in seven neighborhoods. They promote education for pregnant women and parents, job-training for teens and more after-school programs for kids.
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn says his goal is to create more spaces and events where neighborhood residents can get to know and trust officers.
“We have to start integrating community into the police department and police department in the community," he said. "It has to be a daily basis. So me as chief, one of my jobs is how do we create the environment and the situations where officers and the community can come together? In the non get-on-the-ground-I’m arresting you kind of situations, every day.”