SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Santa Maria has hit a milestone--there hasn't been a homicide in the city so far in 2017 according to the Santa Maria Police Department.
The last homicide in the city goes all the way back to October 2, 2016. There was a total of nine homicides in Santa Maria in 2016 compared to zero through June 6th of this year.
Santa Maria Police say this has been a noticeably peaceful stretch. They credit "Operation Matador" which led to the arrests of several known gang members who are accused of being behind a spike in murders in 2015 that spilled over into 2016.
"Over the last five years for instance we've been really trying to recruit as many new officers as we can.. we've been allotted an increase in our staffing patrols," Santa Maria Police Lt. Jesse Silva said.
Police say during that time, the atmosphere was tense for people living in Santa Maria and that a lot of people were nervous to go outside.
"The community was maybe a little scared to go out in public," Silva said.
Police also credit an increased number of officers who have been hired by the department and their Public Safety Camera System which put cameras throughout the city. Police credit those cameras for solving crimes in the city since they were installed.
"That's allowed us to monitor activity throughout the city and they've come in handy with solving several crimes throughout the city," Silva said.
Santa Maria also recently rolled out a new coalition this year called the "Mayor's Task Force on Youth Safety." It's a combination of about 50 leaders and organizations who are trying to shape the future youth of Santa Maria for the good.
"Well zero violence would be great but our goal is to lower the violence in Santa," Roberto Rodriguez with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Maria Valley said.
Roberto Rodriguez with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Maria Valley - is a member of the Mayor's Task Force.
"Santa Maria is a great community and we have a great potential for all of our kids here so working for the Boys & Girls Club gives me that buy in that I want to see every kid succeed here," Rodriguez said.
"Our officers are out there, they're seeing, you can't drive down Broadway without seeing one of our patrol cars, it makes our citizens feel safe and that ultimately is what our goal is," Silva said.