Tuesday, February 15, 2011

too late for cops in trying to stop the crime rate

What hope is there if the cops tell you it's a crappy neighborhood and they don't live in the town they're sworn to protect?

I work with cops. I like cops. I trust my life to cops. But, to have one who works in MY town ask "why would someone buy a house on that street?"..... really? "That neighborhood is bad. Drug houses. Tweakers. The houses were bought by families then left to their drug-dealing kids who let the house run down". I argued that this is a great town and tried to tell him that, if responsible people buy in to those sketchy blocks and care, they will chase out the tweakers who don't like to be watched by nosy neighbors. "Nah", he tells me, "most towns are swiss cheese... mostly good with holes of crime or drug neighborhoods. Eureka is blue cheese with veins of crap all over the place". He has moved to Fortuna .... What the hell?! This isn't Jericho....or Bartertown where the good people have to cower inside their homes. Who says the bad guys get to win?

Back in the day, when I dispatched in Santa Cruz, our officers had to live within 15 minutes of work, in case they had to be called in. That used to be the case in Eureka, too, I'm told. That has increased to 30 minutes for the few department that even care which means officers who are here to protect Eureka can go home to McKinleyville or Hydesville .... someplace they perceive is safer. Doesn't it track that a city is better protected by the people who have a personal stake in its success?

The National Trust for Historic Preservation finds Eureka to be a "Distinctive Destination" because of the architecture, history and non-traditional tourism options. Sunset Magazine sees us as one of the best places in the west to live. Our neighborhood is on top of things. Though our Neighborhood Watch hasn't had meetings in a while, we know our neighbors and watch out for our 'hood. We're willing to do the work because we have a personal stake in keeping it safe. I want my cops to live here....I want THEM to have a stake in this town. I want them to think of this as more than a hellhole they leave at the end of a long shift. If you want to work here, shouldn't you be willing to live here?