A fatal shooting in the Ingleside district Saturday brought The City’s homicide total to 86, surpassing last year’s total with three months left in the calendar year.
Just after noon Saturday, police reported, 66-year-old Kam Shing Yam was shot as he tried to prevent his car from being stolen after a dispute arising from a traffic accident in the 100 block of Raymond Avenue. Yam stood in front of the BMW as one suspect tried to drive off with it, but another suspect shot him, Sgt. Steve Mannina said Monday. Yam’s BMW was later found burned near McLaren Park.
After a decline that bucked national trends in 2006, the homicide rate has escalated this year. At this time last year, the total was 70. The City finished 2006 year with 85 homicides, a drop of 11 from 2005, which tallied a 10-year high of 96.
The City’s official homicide total had hovered at 84 for much of September, after a bloody beginning to the month. But an April shooting, in which 14-year-old Tamisha Tovie, of Stockton, was shot at her uncle’s funeral, was determined to be a homicide. That, plus Saturday’s violence, pushed the total above that of last year.
Since 2005, The City has implemented a number of strategies to cut its homicide and other violent-crime rates. Mayor Gavin Newsom included funding for more classes of police recruits and the department started an aggressive hiring campaign. In 2006, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi passed legislation requiring officers to walk beats. The City has even tried using technology, in the form of surveillance cameras, to curb crime, but homicides continue to rise.
Earlier in September, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice issued statistics that showed that gang-related killings have fallen this year, from 25 to 13, while “disputes” have increased, from 22 to 25. The Police Department defines gang-related violence as that which elevates an individual’s status within the gang, or that which elevates the gang’s status. The designation is made on a case-by-case basis, according to police. Drug-related killings increased this year from 13 to 17.