Blast From The Past: 2013 article shows city is not really serious about dealing with our crime problem, just giving more money to the cops

18 Oct

Here’s an article from the Enterprise Record, February 2013 – except that MacPhail has retired, has anything changed?

Yes, the police budget has gotten bigger, we have hired more cops, and cops are making more money than ever. Our city council is finally talking about the pension crisis, but isn’t really doing anything about it.  Downtown Chico and Bidwell Park have become disgusting.

What next? We’ll see!

Chico police: Tallying up the cost of south-of-campus raucousness

By ALMENDRA CARPIZO-Staff Writer
Posted:   02/22/2013 01:06:44 AM PST
 

Click photo to enlarge

Chico police Capt. Lori MacPhailAll Chico E-R photos are available
 

CHICO — Out of the estimated 33 square miles of Chico, half of a square mile is receiving much of the attention of the police department.Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., an extra police shift is active, said Chico police Capt. Lori MacPhail. The C Team’s sole responsibility is to focus on south of Chico State University and downtown.

The C Team is made up of one sergeant and seven officers, she said. On those days, there is also an extra dispatcher on staff.

The cost of the C Team to patrol is between $1 million to $1.5 million a year, MacPhail said. Although the amount doesn’t seem too high, it’s important to note Chico police are assigning an entire patrol team to cover half a square mile.

The overall budget for the Chico Police Department is $22 million.

A high percentage of the calls and arrests that occur on weekends are alcohol-related — drunk in public, drunken driving or noise complaints.

From Jan. 12 to Feb. 11, there have been 59 alcohol-related arrests in downtown Chico and south of the university, according to police arrests records. Most of those — 42 — were for disorderly conduct, and the bulk occurred on weekends.

In 2012, there were 1,628 alcohol-related arrests, according to police records. That was a drop from 1,963 arrests in 2011 and 2,145 in 2010.

The Chico Fire Department doesn’t feel much of an economic hit when responding to the south of campus, said chief James Beery. However,

there’s clearly an impact just based on the amount of calls received compared to when students are out of town.Firefighters work two 24-hour shifts in a row, and that doesn’t change on the weekends, he said.

If calls happen to overlap, the department works on a “first-come, first served” basis, Beery said. The department can’t afford to have extra firefighters out there.

Fire Station 1, which covers the area south of the university, tends to respond to more alcohol, drug overdoses and assault calls, he said, but calls run the whole gamut.

There is another issue that police and fire are responding to more on weekends — fights.

When people get “all liquored-up,” there are fights, Beery said.

Some fights are occurring at parties, but officers also see them as people spill out of the bars, MacPhail said.

Although the parties are not getting bigger, they are becoming more violent, she said. People are stabbing each other and throwing things at officers.

Chico police do receive help if things get out of control, MacPhail said.

There’s a good relationship between it and the University Police Department, said Drew Calandrella, CSUC’s vice president for student affairs. University police serve as backup at times.

Costs are important, he said. Everyone is worried about costs — costs relating to assaults, residence halls having to deal with alcohol-related incidents.

However, the focus is on changing the behavior and culture of drinking. That’s an issue for the entire city, not just for south of campus.

MacPhail acknowledges this is not a police department problem, she said. Enforcement isn’t going to be the solution either. There needs to be an examination of the root causes and an open dialogue to find solutions.

Reach Almendra Carpizo at 896-7760, acarpizo@chicoer.com, or on Twitter @almendracarpizo.

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