Several west side communities in the Stevenson Ranch area of the Santa Clarita Valley are once again receiving Nixle reports on crime, Sheriff’s Station officials announced recently.
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The Nixle service is used by the city of Santa Clarita and the Sheriff’s Station to put out regular reports for items of community interest, major alerts and to analyze weekly crime numbers for five of the seven zones in the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s jurisdiction.
There hasn’t been a Los Angeles County budget surplus that allowed for the station to staff the reports in the unincorporated areas, they’re being paid for by the Stevenson Ranch Homeowners Association, officials said.
“(The HOA’s contract) was billed originally as a juvenile crime suppression — it’s something they’ve had in place for eight to 10 years,” said Sgt. Ron Olfert of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, adding that it was originally aimed at areas and times in the neighborhood when less adult supervision was available. “But it’s morphed into something a little bit different.”
The HOA pays the Sheriff’s Station for 10 to 11 four-hour shifts each month, Olfert said.
Recently, the HOA decided to transfer hours in a regular contract it was providing into resources that look at crime and week-over-week trends, breaking them down into a report that’s released through Nixle.
While recent county budget cutbacks have made necessary overtime for more patrols unavailable, the station diverted resources from statistical analysis in order to better target incident response, said Capt. Paul Becker, in a response to the county’s January report.
Countywide, the Sheriff’s Department was asked to increase response times to unincorporated areas, after a report to the Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors showed a one-minute discrepancy in responses there as opposed to areas patrolled by contract cities.
That’s why the crime analyses for two of the Santa Clarita Valley’s seven crime zones, one of which included Stevenson Ranch, were stopped in February.
“I have to hit a compliance level within those city (limits) to fulfill the contract,” Becker said, in response to the county’s report. “They hit a set amount, we bill them every month and we fulfill those contracts. So, obviously, when there’s a reduction in staffing levels, it’s going to fall on the unincorporated areas.”
The Sheriff’s Station patrols approximately 500 miles, the largest coverage area for any station in Los Angeles County.
The reports will be released at a minimum of every other week for the Stevenson Ranch neighborhoods, Olfert said. The other crime zones within city limits will continue to receive weekly reports.
The cost of the deputy service is standard, whether it’s crime analysis or providing security for a movie shoot, said Pam Boxwell, who works in the Sheriff’s Station’s Operations Department, overseeing the private entity and movie contracts.
On a contract basis, deputy services are only available to businesses and not individuals, according to station officials, and the rate is standard.
“To hire, it’s 85.58 per hour and theres a four-hour minimum,” Boxwell said.
The rate is the same, regardless of whether the contract entails 10 hours of deputy service of 100 hours, she said.
“We do quite a few movie jobs, some are from the city and some are from the county,” she said. The figures were not available yet for how many jobs the station worked in the current year, but it’s likely in the “hundreds of hours.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News