Our View: Reginal approach needed to confront recent upsurge in violence
The peace and quiet, and respite from the violence that has rocked the region, lasted about a month and a half. And then, four people were slain last weekend in San Bernardino, Fontana, Yucaipa and Redlands.
The gunshots shattered San Bernardino's longest stretch this year without a homicide. Twenty-one-year-old Joshua Joell Stanton of Rialto became San Bernardino's 35th homicide victim this year killed in an apparent gang-related drive-by shooting.
Also down are a 19-year-old Fontana woman shot dead in her car. A Yucaipa man shot dead in his apartment. And a Redlands teen shot dead in a park in Redlands.
The latter death is particularly striking in a community that rarely sees homicides, much less violence in one of its parks.
Yet the randomness of the weekend's homicides is a sharp reminder that crime is not confined to one place many communities besides San Bernardino are shaken by the threat. And it is going to take a regional awareness, and watchful communities, to get a grip on the problem.
The slaying of 16-year-old Adrian Valdovinos, in the restroom at Community Field Park in Redlands on Saturday night, is perhaps especially shocking in that it was apparently so unprovoked, so senseless.
Adrian's death has spurred concern in a community that has seen only two homicides this year. And it has Redlands Police Chief Jim Bueerrman on notice that the police crackdown in neighboring cities, particularly San Bernardino, could be driving crime into Redlands.
Bueermann says statistics show that it's largely nonresidents behind the city's recent uptick in crime. Even quiet Loma Linda, to the south of San Bernardino, has noticed a string of violent crimes lately. The city, which rarely sees a murder, robbery or sexual assault, has been hit by all three in the past few weeks.
And that has been the underlying concern that criminals scared out of one city, namely San Bernardino, might logically go elsewhere to evade arrest. It is, perhaps, the ugly nature of the beast that when one city has success at curbing crime, at least for awhile, surrounding cities must fear whether they're next on the list for trouble.
Crime knows no boundaries, after all. And criminals, by their nature, are transient folks, moving often to stay one step ahead of the law.
Then, there are the ubiquitous gangs, which are migrating eastward along with the region's expanding population. The gangs that threaten San Bernardino aren't just San Bernardino's problem to tackle, many are realizing.
So, as surrounding communities share the grief when killers cross their threshold, it is becoming painfully obvious that crime prevention and intervention programs are needed as much as more police officers.
Squelching the crime in one community won't kill it off completely. Communities need to do their part in steering troubled youths away from a criminal lifestyle. Programs that go to the heart of the violence and seek to avert it are an important part of the solution for all communities.
A regional approach is vital as criminals are displaced. Local communities must come together and work toward improving neighborhoods and residents' well-being for there to be public safety.