Opinion: Violent crime down at South Shore
Tribune Opinion Columnist
Great news! Compared to last year, our violent crime rate is down 41 percent (from 112 occurrences in 2014 to 66 in 2015).
The news is not all good however. Our property crime rate is up 6 percent (from 516 in 2014 to 548 in 2015). This increase was not unexpected as we reported on a significant upward trend in property crime 6 months ago. Total crime is down 2.2 percent over last year.
Last summer and fall, we noticed a significant rise in bicycle thefts (along with other thefts). It is our belief that a contributing factor is “loosening” of the laws and penalties for committing property crime (AB 109 and Proposition 47). We will continue our effort through the use of “bait” bikes and crime-prevention property marking programs (microdots) this spring.
On Jan. 30, police responded to a homicide. In this case, a robbery stemming from a marijuana deal led to the shooting death of 40-year-old Dennis Wright Jr. The work on this case has been ongoing, with the arrest of four suspects and warrants for two others pending. In such cases, we have the duty to follow every lead and solve the case. To do so, our detectives have worked tirelessly and we have been fortunate to have support from other law enforcement organizations to include the El Dorado District Attorney’s Office, SLEDNET, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and law enforcement professionals from Benicia, Fairfield, Vallejo, Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department and several others which cannot be named to preserve the integrity of the ongoing investigation.
SPRING CLEANING: CODE ENFORCEMENT
This year, we are planning to bolster community awareness regarding the city’s physical appearance — especially in the area of our most traveled and visited U.S. Highway 50 corridor. Here’s the plan: working with community members and staff members, we are developing a “Visual Appeal Index.” With this, we will grade individual properties and our city as a whole. After the “grading” phase, we plan to notify property owner of the results to include positive reinforcement elements for nice-looking businesses and useful information to improve a given business’ appearance. As you might expect, we will take action if in the course of doing this work we discover violations of existing code. We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.
Brian T. Uhler is Police Chief of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department.
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