Recently I took an informal, non scientific survey on the Elk Grove Laguna Forums Facebook page. I asked people to list their 3 most important issues in Elk Grove. Click on “see more” in the post below to read all the comments.
(updated. The same question was asked again on November 7 )
Overwhelmingly the most mentioned issue was crime. As someone who reports on it, reads the daily watch summaries, and also receives numerous messages and visitors posts regarding crime, I can say that crime is the biggest concern for Elk Grove residents.
Is crime going up? Or are we just hearing about it more because of social media and neighborhood sites? If we look strictly at the statistics, crime is actually down. 2016 was lower than 2015 and 2017 is down compared to 2016. That doesn’t change the perception that crime is up. So should we stop talking about it or stop following social media and pretend it’s not happening? I don’t think so. There are many things we can learn from the various crimes and posts. There are precautions that people can take that can help minimize being victim. Such as don’t leave anything of value in your car. Be aware of your surroundings.
How does this negative perception hurt the city’s reputation? If you talk to people who live in those other cities, their opinion of Elk Grove is not very good. Years ago it used to be known as a cow town and now the perception is negative because of crime. How does this impact the city’s ability to attract businesses and employers?
In a two month span the city has had two homicides and two other shootings that led to the victims being hospitalized. The last previous homicide was 18 months earlier. Recently there were 4 incidents in less than one week where residents were robbed or assaulted as they arrived home. There have been other robberies and assaults on pedestrians recently and 4 home burglaries in the Stone Lake area in a one week span. All these incidents have residents on edge.
As a city, Elk Grove is often compared to other suburbs, like Roseville, Rocklin and Folsom. The consensus is that the other 3 cities are safer. I used Neighborhood Scout to take a look at the crime statistics. The most recent year they have data for was 2015. I also wanted to find out how many police officers each city had per 10,000 people. For that data I used the website Governing.com. Which obtains its information from the FBI.
For the crime index category, the higher the number, the safer the city. 100 is considered the safest.
The numbers show that violent crime is higher in Elk Grove. Elk Grove did do better in terms of property crime.
One of the interesting numbers from the chart is the numbers of officers per 10,000 residents. Elk Grove is lower than the other cities. One of the things many Elk Grove residents have asked for is more officers. The Elk Grove police department has an excellent reputation. They seem to be doing more with less. Would having more officers have an impact on the violent crime? Could be. It could allow the department to focus more on certain areas. There is no doubt that Elk Grove needs more officers to at least be equal to other cities. The standard used to be 10 officers per 10,000 people, but there are other factors involved in determining the best ratio.
Elk Grove currently has 171,000 people and 139 sworn officers according to the EGPD website. In order to get to the 10 officer per 10,000 person thresh hold, the city would need to hire an additional 32 officers. 32 more officers could have a a huge impact on the crime level in the city. That would represent a 23% increase in police officers. Can the city afford that? With the proposed casino paying $1.5 million a year to the city strictly for police services, it could happen in the future.
How do you feel about this? Would you like to see the city hire more police officers? As a resident of the city, it is important that you let the city council know how you feel about the issues affecting the city. In my opinion the city does need to hire more officers. The department can be spread pretty thin at times. More officers could allow the department to be more proactive in their policing and focus more on the residential areas where a lot of the property crime is taking place. The city also needs to install the PODS camera devices that are used by other cities including Sacramento. The camera can read license plates which would help catch stolen vehicles, and suspects wanted for crimes. It could also catch suspects leaving the scene of a crime and help officers track down suspect vehicles.
Here is the contact information for the city council
Mayor Steve Ly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Detrick email@example.com
Pat Hume firstname.lastname@example.org
Darren Suen email@example.com
Stephanie Nguyen firstname.lastname@example.org