Vallejo struggles to overcome image as town where kids aren't safe

VALLEJO, Calif. - Vallejo seems to have a lot going for it.

Scenic mountain and ocean views. Historic Victorian homes for less than $300,000. And San Francisco is a 55-minute ferry ride away.

But just as Vallejo was on the verge of rebirth, it is being dogged with a disturbing new image: a town where children aren't safe.

Xiana Fairchild, 7, disappeared while walking to school last December. More recently, an 8-year-old girl was abducted by a stranger on her way home from school. She escaped two days later after her captor left her alone in his car with the keys to her shackles.

The two cases have also brought to light the fact that 391 registered sex offenders live in Vallejo, a higher percentage per capita than other San Francisco Bay area towns of similar size and demographic.

Now real estate agents say that some people are reconsidering moving there.

That bothers Mayor Tony Intintoli, who wants Vallejo, halfway between San Francisco and Napa, to be seen as the gateway to wine country.

''A lot of prosperity here is built on the perception that the city is on the verge of rebirth, and anything that damages that can stop you dead in your tracks,'' Intintoli told the San Jose Mercury News. ''When I see the mindset from the Bay area it really annoys me. It's a mindset that's so difficult to shake.''


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment