SAN JOAQUIN, California (KGPE) – The small city of San Joaquin in Fresno County has been hit hard by gang violence the past few weeks.
Four separate shootings left a 19-year-old dead and two others injured. The Fresno county sheriffs department believes all incidents to be gang related and have stepped up patrols.
They aren’t the only ones keeping an eye on the community, so are residents with a new citizens patrol.
“San Joaquin California is a good community, it’s a good town,” said life-long resident Celina Rossetti.
Rossetti came up with the idea for a citizens patrol and is using social media to rally others in the community to join her movement to stop crime by getting involved.
“I’m worried about everybody, I’m worried about my kids my family everybody and I’m calling everyone out to do the same,” said Rossetti in a Facebook live video which gained hundreds of comments.
The community-based approach comes from her love for kids. She’s worked at the San Joaquin preschool for 17 years as a teacher and now site manager. She is also on the local school district board.
“Hopefully when the community sees us trying to take back our community they can see what our movement is, how we want to stay involved, get the parents involved,” said Rossetti.
One parent on the patrol is Mariela Torres. She, like other parents wishes there were more activities for children and youth to get involved in.
“The police can do their part, but we live here. We are the ones having to put up with all this, so we should be the ones who care the most,” said Torres.
San Joaquin Mayor Amarpreet Dhaliwal admits the challenges that come with a small city, small budget and a pandemic but believes the community can create change and put an end to the violence.
“Just because that thing happened, three times four times, in the last three four weeks we aren’t going to cover up, we are going to stand up,” said Dhaliwal.
He said the city is working on creating more youth programs and is collaborating with law enforcement.
Anyone with additional information about criminal activity in San Joaquin and its surrounding communities can contact the Sheriff’s Office at (559) 600-3111 or Valley Crime Stoppers (559) 498-7867 or www.valleycrimestoppers.org You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.