Jeremy Meeks representative of Stockton California’s crime crisis
CHICAGO, June 22, 2014 – A picture can tell a thousand words. However in the saga of Jeremy Meeks, those words – handsome, pretty, adorable, and the ever present OMG! – ring false.
On June 18, 2014 the Stockton, California Police Department arrested Jeremy Meeks, 30, one of four men arrested Wednesday in raids in Stockton. Meeks’ booking photo shows a pensive, full lipped, ice blue eyed man, with head tilted in a ‘come hither my dear’ pose.
The photographer taking those booking shots needs to take his or her skills elsewhere, maybe taking passport or driver’s license pics. Because Meeks is not quite the good guy folks think he is from his attractive photo.
Just ask his ex-wife, who is reportedly quite furious over the fawning attention her ex is getting.
The people of Stockton are not very pleased either. The city, located in Northern California south of Sacramento, is the San Joaquin County seat. With a population in 2012 of just under 300,000, Stockton is a small town and like many small towns has been affected by the recent economy and the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis.
In July 2012, Stockton became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy protection. The city approved a plan to exit bankruptcy in October.
A lovely city, Stockton is beset by some of the highest crime rates in the country. Meeks was one of four men taken into custody during Operation Ceasefire. Operation Ceasefire is a “multi-agency mission to curb a recent increase in shootings and robberies in the Weston Ranch area of Stockton.”
Four firearms were confiscated during a sweep Wednesday involving the Stockton Police gang unit, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Task Force and other agencies.
Meeks was arrested and booked for committing Street Terrorism, which is a gang related charge. When stopped by the police, the married 30-year-old dad was arrested on five weapons charges and one gang charge. During the search of his car, cops found a 9 mm round of ammunition and what they believe to be marijuana in his passenger compartment, as yet unconfirmed.
Meeks has a less than desirable rap sheet. The Daily Mail reports “For a decade, he has been in and out of courtrooms in California and Washington for crimes including resisting arrest, faking his identity and grand theft, for which he served two years.”
The thousands words Stockton may be using for Meeks include felon, gang member, “street terrorist,” criminal and maybe less PC terms like thug, bully, or Crip – as Meeks is reportedly a member of the feared gang.
In photos he shows gang tattoos, including the teardrop beneath his eye signifying that he has a) killed someone, possibly as a revenge murder; b) lived a “hard life” or that the wearer has c) been made a “prison wife.” The word ‘Crip’ on his forearm backup the Stockton Police assertion that he is a part of the Northside Gangster Crips.
CityData.com ranks Stockton, California as having the highest crime related ratings for gang related crimes like murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, and arson. The violent crime rate in Stockton is two to three times higher than the U.S. average.
Violent crime rate in 2012
U.S. Average: 214.0
Violent crime rate in 2011
U.S. Average: 214.1
Violent crime rate in 2010
U.S. Average: 223.2
Violent crime rate in 2009
U.S. Average: 238.0
Violent crime rate in 2008
U.S. Average: 252.4
Violent crime rate in 2007
U.S. Average: 259.7
Violent crime rate in 2006
U.S. Average: 264.1
Meeks told ABC News10 in Stockton he’s “not some kingpin” and that he’s trying to clear his name.
“I appreciate (the attention), but I just want them to know that this really is not me,” Meeks said.
Younger brother Bryan Varela said Meeks is a changed man after his last prison stint. His mother, and the man himself, all claim his gang days are behind him and that this is all a misunderstanding. The guns were there for protection and they were just going to work.
“He’s a man who learns from his mistakes,” Varela told CBS 13. “With his past history, he got out of being incarcerated and put his mind on focus to his family and started doing what he had to do. Living the dream that he always wanted.”
Meeks’ bail was raised to $1 million on Friday, CBS 13 reported. His arraignment was continued to June 27.