Safer Neighborhoods Initiative
Our #1 challenge is Safer Neighborhoods. Modesto’s crime rates, economic struggles, homelessness and vagrancy are issues with no simple answers that must be addressed now as well as strategically over time.
People are coming together to work on these issues and many efforts are underway. One of them is the City Council’s Safer Neighborhoods Initiative. Behind the scenes, there are scores of community minded people working to improve the quality of life for residents. Innovative strategies are emerging to meet our challenges with viable solutions.
Since the 2008 great recession, Modesto has cut 25% of its police officers, which makes crime prevention and community policing difficult at best. We rank in the top 5 cities for violent crime and property crime in California. Our officers are spread thin and the statistics clearly illustrate that truth. However, we are taking steps to provide the help needed to create the safer neighborhoods residents want.
Many of our parks and neighborhoods have become places where vagrants have created an “un-family friendly” culture, taking up residence and even engaging in illegal activity. This represents yet another challenge for us all. Our in-house Homeless Task Force is working in partnership with other agencies to identify and implement solutions. We are also looking at the challenge from a holistic perspective to deal with some of the core issues that lead to homelessness and vagrancy. On October 1st, the Focus on Prevention Initiative will convene for the purpose of bringing the community together to develop strategies for reducing and preventing homelessness.
In November, citizens of Modesto will have the opportunity to vote on Measure G, a half cent (0.5%) sales tax placed on the ballot to address community priorities. If passed, Measure G would provide about $14 million annually to support the Safer Neighborhoods Initiative, which would help restore critical City Services, such as crime and fire prevention, public safety resources deployment, growing neighborhood leadership capacity, positive youth activities, homelessness and tagging prevention. Because Measure G is a general tax, revenue could be used for any legitimate public purpose. However, City Council has made it clear the revenues would be used to create safer neighborhoods and restore critical City services that were cut due to the economic downturn, including police patrols and emergency services, gang suppression efforts, and nuisance property abatement.