Vallejo teens reach out to others after crime wave

February 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
There is enormous concern there about Vallejo's image and its safety. ABC7 takes a closer look at how officials and ordinary citizens in Vallejo are responding to this recent crime wave.

Two hideous crimes drew a lot of attention in Vallejo last week. Police believe both were committed by teenagers.

"We were completely shocked," says Najla Barance from the Solano Mentor Collaborative.

Advocates for youth services say they are more motivated than ever to step up the support they offer teenagers in Vallejo. The Solano Mentor Collaborative says the problem is they have more kids in need than they have mentors, but they are going to work harder to change that.

"We're just going to throw ourselves out there and show them we have the resources they can cling onto," says Barance.

The teenagers from the Boys and Girls Club are motivated too. They were stunned to hear a 15-year-old was accused of shooting an ice cream truck saleswoman in the chest. She did survive the attack, the shooter is still on the loose. Just two days earlier a city maintenance worker was beaten up by a mob of teenagers.

"I felt like sick to my stomach because it gives a bad impression of us, the young adults, and youth and that's not what we're about," says Robert Simons, a Vallejo resident.

That attack was caught on video tape, which has been played over and over again on the news and the Internet. The teens have talked extensively about the crime and have decided to send flowers to the city worker to try and restore his faith in young people.

"I hope he realizes we're not all like that and I hope he gets better soon," says Jordan Pope, a Vallejo resident.

"It's been a rough and unique week," says Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis.

Davis says he is pleased, but not surprised to hear the residents are ready to take action.

"And in times of crisis and tragedy, this city usually pulls together and helps each other," says Davis.

The city worker, Harold Cabral, suffered a fractured skull, broken jaw and collarbone. His union rep says he is recovering at home and that support from the community will help that recovery.

"And I'm sure that will make a difference for him and his family," says Ken Shoemaker, the vice president of IBW 2376.

The mayor plans to hold a press conference on Tuesday to give specifics about how the city will be responding to these crimes.