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City's biggest issue: Keeping Santa Clarita safe

Posted: March 16, 2008 1:59 a.m.
Updated: May 17, 2008 5:02 a.m.
I had the honor of spending 25 years protecting the public as an LAPD officer. While serving in the San Fernando Valley I witnessed the deterioration of a place that had a strong sense of community to one that is now gang-infested, fear-ridden and in many areas lacking hope.

So even though the FBI lists Santa Clarita as one of the safest cities in America we must remain vigilant. Becoming the next San Fernando Valley is not an option.

As your councilman and mayor I have supported the city's zero tolerance policy for gangs, drug dealers, child molesters and graffiti. Knowing that graffiti is the gateway to more crime and gang involvement we have committed huge resources to tackling this problem.

Our goal is to remove graffiti within 24-hours. Anyone that sees graffiti should call our graffiti hot-line at 25-CLEAN. On Saturday, May 10, the City will host a "Graffiti Wipe-Out Day" event to eradicate graffiti city-wide.

More deputies
Later this year the City's Anti-Gang Task Force and Gang Outreach Committee members, as well as local law enforcement, will host two "Community Gang Awareness" meetings. Information will be provided about the anonymous crime hotline, and other ways to combat gangs.

More deputies on our streets help deter crime and that is why during my time on the council I voted to add 16 new deputies to patrol Santa Clarita neighborhoods.

But we can always do more. That's why the city is committed to building a new sheriff's station at the civic center and a sheriff's sub-station in Canyon Country so the public safety infrastructure is in place to support those men and women on the front lines who risk their lives everyday to protect us.

Another strategy for reducing crime and vandalism is to engage young people before they are at-risk. The city spends more on parks and community services than our public safety budget. This is the most cost-effective way (in both dollars and human potential) to deal with crime.

The city's new community center and its programs in Newhall have had a positive impact on our youth. The city wants to replicate that same success by building a community center in Canyon Country.

Public safety is everyone's responsibility so during my year as mayor - the city, the Sheriffs Department and the Fire Department will be doing a monthly series of public safety awareness programs and messages, aimed at promoting a clean, safe and healthy community.

The 2008 public safety awareness programs is focusing on important aspects of home, personal, and community safety of importance to Santa Clarita residents and businesses.

Through local media residents and businesses will learn how to improve their personal safety and quality of life in the city of Santa Clarita.

Topics include: Gang awareness; emergency preparedness; identity theft and senior safety; motorcycle and bicycle safety; parenting and teen awareness; DUI Awareness Month; fire safety and smoke alarm awareness; kid safety; and traffic safety.

I would like to encourage you to become involved in community safety.

The Sheriff Department offers an anonymous crime tip line, 284-2TIP (284-2847) to report crime.

Santa Clarita is safe because of our sense of community and commitment to public safety. I am proud to have the endorsement of Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley as well as the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs and the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association for my campaign for re-election. Working together Santa Clarita will remain a special place. I would be honored to have your vote on April 8.



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