The killing of a 23-year-old man two days after the birth of his son has heightened unease and frustration in East Palo Alto, Ca., where police are promising to crack down on the hottest corners and most dangerous criminals in response to a recent spasm of violence, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Police and residents have fought long and hard – and, for the most part, successfully – to shake the city’s onetime reputation as the nation’s “murder capital.”
Some mourners of victim Jabari Banford warned against complacency. “I thought this was all over with,” said the Rev. Cleo Barkus “If a young man getting killed in the prime of his life doesn’t get you angry, I don’t know what will.” East Palo Alto once had the highest per-capita homicide rate in the U.S., based on a 1992 total of 42 victims in a city of 24,000. Beefed-up police efforts, along with community activism and shifting demographics, helped calm the violence. A report last year said violent crime fell 56 percent in the city from 1986 to 2008, outpacing a statewide drop of 45 percent.