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Monterey County Ranks #1 for Youth Homicide Victimization in California for Second Year in a Row, New Study Reveals

Annual Study Compares Rates of Homicide Victimization for Californians Ages 10 to 24 by County, Race, Ethnicity, Weapon Used, Circumstance, and Location

WASHINGTON - Monterey County’s young people suffer a murder rate that leads all California counties and is nearly three times the overall state rate for the same age range, according to “Lost Youth:  A County-by-County Analysis of 2010 California Homicide Victims Ages 10 to 24,” a study analyzing unpublished California Department of Justice Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC).  The study, available at and funded by The California Wellness Foundation, uses the most recent data available to rank California counties by their homicide victimization rates for youth and young adults ages 10 to 24.   


This is the second year that the VPC has released the study and the second year that Monterey County has led the rankings.  While for 2010 Monterey maintained its top ranking compared to other California counties, the county’s homicide victimization rate for this age group dropped from 31.24 per 100,000 in 2009 to 24.36 per 100,000 in 2010. 


Statewide, the homicide victimization rate for Californians ages 10 to 24 dropped from 10.48 per 100,000 in 2009 to 8.48 per 100,000 in 2010.  The appendix from the study comparing California counties’ 2009 rankings to their 2010 rankings can be found separately at   


The study finds overwhelmingly that firearms, usually handguns, are the weapon of choice in the homicides of youth and young adults.  The study also shows that there are vast disparities between groups:  in California, young African-Americans are more than 22 times more likely to be murdered than young whites; young Hispanics are more than five times more likely to be murdered than young whites.   


Josh Sugarmann, VPC executive director and study co-author states, “The homicide rates for youth and young adults across California show the urgent need for effective violence-prevention strategies that stress tailored, localized approaches that engage local leaders and community stakeholders.”




The top 10 counties with each county's corresponding homicide victimization rate for its population of Californians ages 10 to 24 are: 


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  1) Monterey County, 24.36 per 100,000

  2) Alameda County, 18.41 per 100,000

  3) San Joaquin County, 18.36 per 100,000

  4) Tulare County, 18.06 per 100,000

  5) Merced County, 13.44 per 100,000

  6) Contra Costa County, 12.94 per 100,000

  7) Fresno County, 11.61 per 100,000

  8) San Francisco County, 11.52 per 100,000

  9) Madera County, 11.39 per 100,000

10) Los Angeles County, 11.35 per 100,000 


The study contains a detailed analysis for each of the top 10 counties, including:  gender; race/ethnicity; most common weapons; victim to offender relationship; circumstance; and, location.  (To help ensure more stable rates, only counties with a population of at least 25,000 youth and young adults between the ages of 10 to 24 were included in the study.  The selected counties account for 99 percent of homicide victims ages 10 to 24 in California and 98 percent of California’s population ages 10 to 24 for 2010.)  


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The Violence Policy Center is a national tax-exempt educational organization working for a safer America through research, investigation, analysis, and advocacy. The VPC provides information to policymakers, journalists, organizations, advocates, and the general public.

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