STOCKTON - Twelve months ago, it was abundantly clear Stockton was on its way to shattering the record for homicides in a single year.
2012 ended with the violent deaths of 71 people - one killing almost every four days - the third-highest homicide rate in American large cities, behind only Detroit and Oakland.
But homicides in 2013 are down 60 percent and nonfatal injury shootings are down 50 percent.
What's happening here now, considered a multifaceted success story, was the focus Friday of a unique hearing in Stockton convened by the California Assembly Select Committee on Gun Violence in the East Bay.
The strong similarities between the violence occurring in Oakland and Stockton prompted the committee's chairman, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, to invite Stockton's Democratic assemblywoman, Susan Talamantes Eggman, to join the committee. But she said she would accept only if Bonta agreed to hold a hearing in Stockton.