Sad spotlight for Vallejo in Netflix series '13 Reasons Why'

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- The East Bay city of Vallejo is becoming a popular place to film movies, commercials and other features. The most controversial series shot in Vallejo was the Netflix series "13 Reasons Why," which deals with teen suicide.

A recent study shows teen suicide rates spiked right after the series first aired in 2017.

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With its charming old-time look, Downtown Vallejo would like to think of itself as a perfect destination for Hollywood.

Jack Martin, a resident here, says the Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" brought many curious teenagers and families to Vallejo.

"I would see children and teenagers come to the set, take pictures, take selfies because they could relate to that," explained Martin.

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Vallejo likes to boast about the series filmed here. In fact, several film locations are highlighted on the official visitor's bureau website.

The Crestmont Theater is featured in the series and on the website.

The Baker's Drug Store is not there, it's really an art store.

While Vallejo is trying to make these places iconic, a new study shows the Netflix show "13 Reasons Why" was associated with a 28.9 percent increase in suicide rates among youth ages 10-17 in the month following the show's release. The study was published in the Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Some residents here aren't surprised.

"So people think oh, that's a great idea and you know I sort of thought about doing it, but now I'm going to do it for sure, now that they've made it into this series. I just think you have to be careful about how you present things," expressed Greg Goins.

Here's what Netflix said Tuesday: "By shedding a light on these difficult topics, we hope our show can help viewers start a conversation. But if you are struggling with these issues yourself, this series may not be right for you or you may want to watch it with an trusted adult."

Vallejo City Hall is staying out of the debate and the Visitor's Bureau said, while saddened by the study, it has no plans to take the pictures of the series down from the website, saying it helps put Vallejo on the map.
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