To accompany the release of the latest Sheriff’s Department crime statistics, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s station Captain Paul Becker has a message for the community. To read the story about crime statistics, click here.
Although we realized a significant reduction in crime in 2010 in Santa Clarita, it is my responsibility as the Chief of Police to ensure that we maintain public safety as a priority into 2011 and beyond. It is imperative that I continuously evaluate programs and my staff’s effectiveness in driving crime rates to their lowest possible levels.
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Our proactive and aggressive efforts to keep drugs off the streets of Santa Clarita, away from our schools, and out of the hands of our youth are a continuing priority. As you are aware, I formed the Juvenile Intervention Team (J-Team) in July of 2010 to specifically address the enforcement side of this growing concern. About the same time, we also implemented our comprehensive crime tip reporting mechanisms to give Santa Clarita residents the ability to directly and anonymously reach out to their Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station with information about drugs and crime affecting our community.
Our review of the J-Team and crime tip statistics indicate those enforcement efforts and the direct involvement of our residents are paying dividends in reducing the amount of drugs and dealers on our streets and sending a strong message that the city of Santa Clarita, the County of Los Angeles, the Sheriffs, and our community will not tolerate those intent on harming our youth.
Since inception in July of 2010, the J-Team has received and processed 147 crime tips resulting in 50 arrests. The team has made a total of 150 arrests, most of which were drug related, has served 19 search warrants, conducted 55 undercover operations, and has been involved with 17 probation and parole compliance operations.
As another clear indication that we are not going to stand idle, several partnerships have been formed between the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, the Blue Ribbon Task Force, City, County, and school officials, and a number of concerned community based organizations, such as ACTION. Working together, a number of meetings have taken place where these community leaders and representatives have openly discussed ways to educate our youth and prevent drug experimenting before it becomes full addiction.
We are certainly not alone in confronting this issue, as virtually every community in the nation is faced with similar challenges.
The drug problem is everyone’s responsibility — it is not solely a law enforcement problem to address. It is my intention to involve our youth, parents, and community as a whole in helping us find solutions. Early prevention and intervention starts right in the home with parental involvement, education, and awareness.
I will be hosting a “Teens Talk Drugs” conversation at City Hall on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011, to listen to teenagers in an effort to get suggestions and ideas directly from them about how drugs are affecting their lives. At the same time I am speaking with teenagers about drugs, the Juvenile Intervention Team will be presenting a seminar to parents entitled “It Starts at Home.” We need to get in touch with the problem at the root, listen to all sides of the issue, and determine what else can be done about it if we are to truly make a difference. It’s not just all about law enforcement! Recently the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station has begun working directly with family members and local organizations to place drug addicted youth in Santa Clarita directly into sustainable drug intervention and rehabilitation programs. Extended resources of the J-Team have been directly involved with securing 12 such youth and adult placements since the idea was formulated and put into action in November 2010. We will continue our efforts in direct partnership with the community as a whole. I believe in accountability at all levels in addressing this problem.
On another youth related front, a recent report indicates the City and Sheriff’s Vital Intervention and Directional Alternatives (VIDA) youth program has returned a 79% success rate in preventing the re-occurrence of juvenile delinquency or crime by its graduates. For youth related program standards, a recent study indicates that a 40% reduction rate in recidivism is considered significant. This program, funded by the City of Santa Clarita, is currently far exceeding that standard.
Other areas of focus in 2011 have included the city of Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Business Alliance’s launch of the Rental Community and Nuisance Abatement Team or RENT program. This program was officially launched on January 31st with a landlord training seminar for local residents, property owners, managers, and landlords at City Hall. The goal of the program is to provide property representatives with the tools needed to maintain safe rental properties free of drugs, gangs, and crime.
Perhaps one of the most substantial changes in the works for 2011 is the forming of the Crime Prevention Unit. Under my direction, designated project managers are working to develop crime prevention zones throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. Each of these zones will be monitored by a zone leader who will look at reported crime; locations where parolees, probationers, and registered sex offenders are residing; and real time crime mapping on a daily basis.
Through the Crime Prevention Unit and the identified zones, deputies will have the ability to thoroughly assess the circumstances of one residential burglary or other crime before it becomes 10. Each zone leader will work to identify crime trends or areas of concern to law enforcement and develop information on the front end that will assist patrol deputies, detectives, and our active involved residents. The shared knowledge of the zone leaders will ultimately lead to more effective law enforcement services and an efficient allocation of resources. A crime prevention partnership has been formed with the City’s Geographical Information System Specialists who have been directly involved with many facets of the program’s zone development and mapping.
As I have said in the past, the community partnerships we have formed with our residents, businesses, the County of Los Angeles, and the city of Santa Clarita are a key component of our recent success in keeping our community safe. I cannot overstate how important these partnerships are to our continued efforts. I must say all of the community support and unwavering commitment to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and public safety has been a key component in our fight against drugs and crime!
We will continue to be proactive in identifying crime trends, challenges, and concerns faced by our community. It is important that we utilize coordinated efforts to direct resources appropriately in order to maintain or improve upon all aspects of public safety in Santa Clarita.
Partnership in Crime Prevention – I want to thank each of you for your participation and support of local law enforcement. It is this true partnership in public safety that makes Santa Clarita such a great community.
Remember, keep those crime tips coming. This can be done anonymously through the Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers Web site at www.lacrimestoppers.org, by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or even via text by texting the letters TIPLA plus the crime tip to 274637 or CRIMES.
You can now receive news, events, information and alerts directly from the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station. Get detailed, up-to-date emails and text messages specific to our community directly from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department by registering for “Nixle” alerts at: www.nixle.com. Sign up for “LASD – Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.” The alerts and advisory text messages can also be received by simply texting SCVsheriff to 888777. (Standard text messaging rates may apply).