We 'Ced Youth Media
Merced's youth voice


April 5, 2017

Safety in Merced is Not Just a Police Issue

By Victor Seguin

Image by Alyssa Castro


MERCED, Calif. – Safety is a hot topic of debate in Merced. Labeled the murder capital of California – among other notorieties – Merced has garnered a very bad reputation for the level of violence that exists here.

The issue is almost always tied to questions of “public safety,” with calls to increase funding for police the usual response. But the best response to this problem is not increased policing, it is to invest in and repair our communities.  

Merced has an abundance of parks and playgrounds, but very few of them are being maintained and protected. We have streets, such as Andregg Avenue and Dale Avenue – to give just two examples – that have no streetlights or sidewalks. Then there are the many condemned buildings and stray animals throughout South Merced that make living in this area dangerous.

At the root of the violence in Merced is the fact that city officials have allowed our community to deteriorate, creating the conditions that make it a perilous environment for residents.

There are many stories of people who are afraid to go outside in the daytime, of youth who are mistaken for gang members and attacked. This is what our city has come to, and it’s been this way for as long as I can remember.

In order to change this, we need real investment from the city. Light posts need to be added in neighborhoods that are without them, parks need to be maintained, and pedestrians need sidewalks. These are the most basic elements that allow residents to feel safe in their neighborhoods. Without them, how can anyone feel safe?

And what about posting police officers in parks instead of schools? This would not only make people who use the parks – children and adults – feel safer, it would also encourage community members to use the parks more often, and help build a friendly relationship between the community, law enforcement, and the Parks and Recreation Department. That isn’t something that exists right now.

Finally, we need our elected officials to reach out and to hear the concerns of our community. Unfortunately, none of the city officials responsible for governing Merced live in my part of town. As a result, they are mostly oblivious – or maybe indifferent – to what we see and live through every day here.

I hope one day that my neighbors and other community members will be able to freely walk through their neighborhoods without fearing for their safety. But this dream will only be achieved when the city recognizes its responsibility and begins to invest in the kinds of things that allow communities to flourish.

Increasing law enforcement is not the answer. We need a commitment to the community to end the violence.  


Victor Seguin, 18,  is a  veteran Youth Reporter at We’Ced. He enjoys Anime and Rock music and is obsessed with Thrilling Intent. He loves to draw, write, and read. Victor sees mental health as a huge matter overlooked in our community, the entire Central Valley, and among youth. He hopes to one day help in the efforts of bringing a youth mental health facility to the Central Valley that is designed specifically for young people.

About the Author




As district nears LCAP vote, parents sound alarm on unaddressed language barriers

Above: Local parent Carla Gonzalez addressed the Merced City School District board of trustees during the June 13 public hearing on school funding. Language access and translation services were among the most frequent concerns ...
by Hannah Esqueda


This Father’s Day Remember: Actions Mean More Than Words

Left: Youth reporter Gabby Morales (second from the left) stands with both her parents and younger sister during a special occasion. While he may not always be around, Gabby says she knows her father is doing what he must to he...
by Hannah Esqueda


Coming Out as Trans and Finding a Role Model in Myself

Above: Just like the beautiful sunset amidst a storm, Alice’s story is about finding beauty in the life you’re living no matter what. Photo by Alice Herrera.  By Alice Herrera I had sweaty palms and shaky hands as ...
by Hannah Esqueda



Health Advocates Warn Federal Policies Can Hurt Immigrants’ Health

Above: Dozens of residents gathered in Winton earlier this year for one of several Know Your Rights events hosted by community groups and immigrant advocates throughout Merced County. Photo courtesy of MOP Merced Facebook page....
by Hannah Esqueda


We’Ced Weighs In: Celebrating Mom

(Photo courtesy of Aaliyah Lannerd) By We’Ced Youth Media We’Ced asked our youth reporters, coworkers, friends and family members about the special role maternal figures play in their lives. What we found is that no matter...
by Hannah Esqueda



Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *