Community Safety and Security
Our communities should be a source of safety, health and well-being, support, and positive connection for all who live and work here. Unfortunately, high levels of substance abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, and interpersonal violence have cruelly robbed the possibility of well-being for far too many local residents.
While we do not have many of the crime problems of urban counties, child abuse and neglect occur at high rates locally. Out of California’s 58 counties, Calaveras County ranks 12th highest in per-capita reports of child abuse. District 2 communities have the highest share of child abuse in the county. Drug and alcohol abuse are underlying factors in this multi-generational crisis.
The local cost of child abuse and neglect in our county includes chronic health problems for children and higher law enforcement expenses. Abused and neglected children face special challenges becoming productive adult members of society. Law enforcement, judicial involvement, child welfare, mental health care, special education costs, juvenile delinquency, adult criminality, and lost productivity all contribute to the staggering social costs of child abuse.
- The causes of crime should be significantly reduced in Calaveras County; An increased portion of our county’s law enforcement activity should go to preventing child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol dependency.
- Illegal drug manufacturing should cease in Calaveras County.
We need to expand the understanding of community safety to include early prevention and intervention efforts throughout the county as well as law enforcement. We must also continue to strengthen community driven efforts to provide prevention and treatment services to at-risk children and families. The county must:
- Admit we have a problem.
- Place greater priority on preventing criminal activity, instead of reacting after it happens.
- Establish and support family resource centers in communities with the greatest need.
- Strengthen locally responsive community organizations to continue outreach, prevention, and intervention efforts to reduce child abuse and substance abuse.
- Foster more positive activities and respect for our young people.
- Work harder to support youth employment.
- Create new, and integrate existing resources for those seeking recovery from alcohol and drug abuse and domestic violence.
- Support an effective county probation program to help reduce crime while reducing the costs of jailing offenders and helping them develop the skills to successfully function in society.
- Reduce crime rates by building a stable and robust economy (see Economic plank).
- Place priority on education and early intervention.
- Re-instate the DUIRR Program (Driving Under the Influence Reporters Reward) which pays rewards under county auspices from fines that individuals are required to pay as a condition of probation when convicted in superior court.
- Increase law enforcement and judicial efforts to stop manufacture and sale of methamphetamines.
- Ensure county Child Protective Services has and uses available resources to intervene appropriately with families needing services.
- Enhance and emphasize community policing models. Establish more sheriff’s substations in key high-crime locations.