Two residents cite statistics supporting giving police the tools they need to keep us safe
Arthur Jeon writes:
This is the truth being obfuscated by anti-police activists (a tiny but vocal minority):
2438 people were arrested in Santa Monica last year.
180 of those 2400 had Santa Monica addresses (many repeat offenders using SAMOSHEL as an address).
This means that approximately 92% of arrestees were NOT FROM SANTA MONICA.
So comparing racial identities with Santa Monica residents is intellectually dishonest at best, or a lying manipulation by defund activists at worst. Regardless of race, over 90% of our crime is being caused by non-residents.
This fake issue is being promoted by a commission that was created after our city was mercilessly looted. Why did we need an oversight commission after our police leadership at the time was MIA as our downtown was destroyed? Pure virtue signaling by progressives who want to be seen as "fighting the good fight" against racism and police brutality. I can comment on this because I am a progressive who actually calls balls and strikes on both sides. Enough. The truth is our police weren't nearly tough enough on May 31st. We have drawn the wrong lesson from that horrible day.
That riot destroyed our brand and put us way behind similar cities in terms of recovery. And we are still feeling the effects of being looted. The failure and turnover rate of businesses is still happening. There are still many, many empty storefronts and buildings in Santa Monica, a place businesses used to fight to be represented.
People, it's 2024. The World Cup and Olympics are coming. We have an opportunity to jump on the world stage and rebrand ourselves, creating a virtuous upward spiral. But those tourists that will stay in Santa Monica (like our residents) want a busy, invigorating, safe, and clean downtown to wander around in. Filling those storefronts and restaurants needs to start NOW (don't think we can sweep the streets like San Francisco did when President XI visited). Getting rid of the dealers, and cleaning up the streets needs to a top priority because the coming events can have the opposite effect: If we are a depressing, disordered, and unsafe city, news of that will explode on travel review sites and forums around the world. We will create a downward spiral and have blown a huge opportunity.
The time for excuses is over. We are a soft target for outside criminals and addicts. Time to see that reality, give the police everything they need, pass ordinances and enforce a zero tolerance policy for public drug use who are coming here for to get high and predate on residents. Dissolve that oversight committee. Solve the problems we have and don't be distracted by ones we don't. This will take courage and the ability to ignore the loud voices on the far Left and the far Right. Aim for the middle where 90% of us are just trying to live.
Oh, and Happy New Year! Let's get after it.
Tina Grossman writes:
The statistics you cite, approximately 92% of arrestees were NOT FROM SANTA MONICA., provides good reason for our police chief to have all the tools he needs to stop crime and save lives, including pretextual stops. Our police are not out of control gunslingers itching for a fight. It is difficult enough for police to do their jobs. I have seen instances of law breaking people degrading our officers using racial slurs, baiting and taunting, spitting and biting. They keep their cool and they get little public support but they conduct themselves professionally. So occasionally l wonder- why have police if they are just show pieces, unable to protect us and unable to assist victims? Chief Batista should be trusted to manage pretextual stops to reduce crime before it happens.
The population of Santa Monica swells daily during working hours and it swells significantly more during summer months. There will always be people in these influxes who are up to no good. I have been stopped once in Santa Monica on a pretext. I found it an uncomfortable situation but knew the police intended to keep people safe. The police officer thought I was trying to evade him because I drove one short block (on Pico, between 17th and 16th) before I understood his flashers were for me. He was clearly nervous and had his hand on his weapon in the open holster as he approached my window. Seeing and hearing his fear and distrust, with a hand on a gun, frightened me greatly. What had I done that caused this intense reaction? The pretext was I hadn't stopped long enough at a stop sign. What??! And eventually I learned I was not the criminal they were after (although I drove a similar car.) Of course I had stopped at the sign but how long is long enough to satisfy an officer on high alert? Unsettling and scary yet I still support the police.
I know police officers are not infallible. We all know of cases across the country when people were stopped and they became victims of police brutality, some dying at the hands of police. I have seen the physical damage that police brutality did to members of my extended family, sending them to the ER and years of PT. Yet, is police brutality in Santa Monica commonplace? Absolutely not. Pretextual stops here have diverted criminals from distributing dangerous drugs (some in wrappers that attract children). And pretextual stops have diverted criminals from using guns (some unregistered) and weapons on unsuspecting victims.
The chief must be trusted to do his job deploying methods of crime intervention and managing pretextual stops to reduce crime. Waiting until crime is committed puts many more lives at risk. It is better to stop a crime before it happens. Pretextual stops are effective. They save lives and keep communities safe.
Thank you and stay well,
45 year resident