Stockton, California (CNN) It’s a story that goes back to the 1950s, when the city of Stockton was a haven for white collar criminals fleeing a brutal Jim Crow era.
But now, the Stockton Police Department is dealing with a surge in black crime in the area that’s left many residents terrified.
The city’s police chief, Kevin O’Connor, says the city’s black residents are being targeted for their perceived race, adding that the city is dealing “with an epidemic.”
O’Connor told CNN affiliate KGO that Stockton’s black population is now at over 1.5 million, making it one of the most racially diverse cities in the United States.
O’Connors statement came just a day after the city announced it had arrested more than 100 black people in the past year.
That was a 50 percent increase over the same time period last year, but O’Cullen’s comments about black residents don’t seem to sit well with many in the city.
“You have a black population that’s at the very, very, extreme end of the scale,” said San Antonio resident, Tanya Jones.
“We are going to have to do a lot more work on this issue,” Jones said.
Odo says he was responding to the recent arrest of three black men in connection with a recent carjacking, which took place at a home on Monday.
The men were all charged with aggravated assault and robbery, Odo said.
The men are now in jail on a $100,000 bond.
In addition, O’Dowd said he was going to hold a press conference on Tuesday morning in response to the police chief’s remarks.
“We need to get our community on our side,” he said.
“If I can make the situation in Stockport a little bit better, that’s what I’m going to do.”