A District 4 Community Meeting hosted by City Council Member Stephanie Nguyen was held on Thursday March 28 at Elk Grove City Council Chambers. City of Elk Grove Assistant Development Services Director Shane Diller, Elk Grove Police Chief Bryan Noblett, Motor Officer Dustin Poore, Crime Prevention Unit Director Kristopher Packwood, and POP Officer Carlos Vina also spoke at the meeting and answered some questions. The meeting, which offered the opportunity for local community members to ask questions, was quite informative. A lot of information regarding the Elk Grove Police Department, the law, and local code enforcement was given.
Police Chief Bryan Noblett announced that a real time Information Center will be built which includes a beat map of the city, icons on local landmarks, and indicators which light up if something is going on in that section of the city. Chief Noblett explained that there will also be video cameras all over the city and feed which will inform officers out in the field exactly what is going on.
Officer Carlos Vina updated the audience on the recent spate of robberies which occurred in Elk Grove, including the recent Allen Ranch robbery.
He explained that three out of four recent cases have been wrapped up. Two things which everyone can do to ensure a safer community are:
- Catch suspects
- Prevent crimes from occurring in the first place
An audience member asked if it appeared the recent robberies had any affiliation. The recent robberies do not appear to have any gang influence.
“Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is defined as a multi-disciplinary approach for reducing crime through urban and environmental design and the management and use of built environments. CPTED strategies aim to reduce victimization, deter offender decisions that precede criminal acts, and build a sense of community among inhabitants so they can gain territorial control of areas and reduce opportunities for crime and fear of crime.” (excerpted from www.cpted.net)
Chris Packwood from the Crime Prevention unit explained that the amount of crimes goes down when criminals feel like they are being seen too much. CPTED has three essential goals to prevent crime in our community:
- Natural Surveillance – We want to create an environment where we see normal actions and abnormal actions.
- Enforce Territorialism – We want to promote the concept of ownership, where something is well maintained. Criminals are less likely to invade a well maintained space.
- Restrict Natural Access Control – We want people to use intended footpaths.
An audience member asked “do you have enough cameras to cover hot spots?” The answer was “probably not.” There is not enough bandwidth for cameras to be available exactly where the EGPD wants them. However, they are working on this issue and are definitely trying to put out more cameras.
Community members can choose to register their cameras with the Elk Grove Police Department. It’s a good idea to register your private video camera with Crime Reports so the Elk Grove Police so that they can contact you if a crime occurs in your neighborhood. REGISTER YOUR CAMERA HERE
Petty theft is a type of theft crime that is based on the low value of the stolen property. Most states divide theft laws into two categories which grand theft and petty theft. According to Chief Noblett, right now petty theft is when an item is stolen worth $950 or less. This $950 is for the same person in a specific incident. So in theory, a person could take $950 worth of something in one place and $950 in another. Grand theft occurs if over $950 or more is taken.
Chief Noblett noted that when certain things are decriminalized it is hard to keep things in check. Crime occurring is a check within itself.
City of Elk Grove Assistant Director Shane Diller talked about code enforcement in Elk Grove. He explained that if they find out someone is out of compliance of a municipal code, the City of Elk Grove likes to give people a chance to comply.
Sometimes the City of Elk Grove will take some preventative measures to try to make sure that nobody is breaching a municipal code. For example, sometimes they will send someone out to mow the lawns of vacant lots. Often the owner is not physically around or the property is not being used and mowing the lawn will just help keep things as they should be.
Lateral Police Officers
A lateral police officer is a police officer coming from another police department in another city who has some level of experience. Chief Noblett indicated that the City Council approved them offering a bonus to lateral police officers. Since this policy was instituted they have hired three or four police officers with this new policy.
A question was asked whether the police need more officers and whether they need any support from the community in getting more police officers. Police Chief Noblett and Assistant Director Diller indicated that the Elk Grove City Council has been fairly responsive whenever anything is needed by the Elk Grove Police Department and no help is needed at this time. They have a good system for making sure that the EGPD is making the most of our tax dollars.
Question Regarding Drones
A question was asked on the Elk Grove Tribune Facebook by Kosmos Vom Nadelhouse and asked by me (Jacqueline “Jax” Cheung, Editor-In-Chief of Elk Grove Tribune) in person. Kosmos asked, “what is law enforcement’s position on cameras on drones flying into private backyards?” The answer was that a drone owned by someone else should not enter a private backyard. I followed this up by asking “if I’m at home and someone else’s drone comes into my backyard, what are my rights?” Chief Noblett was clear and said “they are not supposed to do that and there are FAA regulations.” He indicated that they are heading towards they are using a program of their own to help regulate drones but it would require registration and certification. I also asked, “if a drone flies into my property and it’s bugging the crap out of me, can I grab it and hold it and can I call the police?” Chief Noblett said, he would love to see me go and up in the air and grab it but technically you probably could. “It’s your yard, it’s your right to defend as you see fit.” However, should a property owner damage a drone that goes onto their property they could be held liable for damage of property.
April 24 Report
On April 24, the annual report will be submitted to the City Council. There will be information about activities, programs, crime statistics, use of force statistics, officer demographics, complaints received.
Overall, though it wasn’t a crowded meeting, I personally found it to be quite informative. I really appreciate the efforts of City Council Member Stephanie Nguyen in facilitating this meeting. I also appreciate Chief Noblett and the Elk Grove Police, as well Assistant Director Shane Diller showing up and taking the time to speaking to members of our community.