By Ken Striplin
National organizations release rankings of Top Cities each year based on various metrics. Without fail, the City of Santa Clarita consistently ranks near the top of many lists.
While Santa Clarita is known throughout California and beyond as one of the healthiest, happiest and best places to raise a family, one designation that is of utmost importance to the City Council is when our community is recognized as being among the safest in the nation.
In fact, at the start of January, Santa Clarita was ranked as the 13th Safest City in America based on factors that include our local crime rate, the number of violent crimes experienced and the economic impact of those crimes on our community as a whole.
Earning this recognition does not come by happenstance. The City of Santa Clarita has a strong partnership with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, and we continue to work with them to drive down crime. In fact, the crime rate in the City hit record lows in 2018, 2019 and 2020 thanks to deputies’ hard work and the vigilance of our community.
One of the tactics our Sheriff’s Department has taken to accomplish this is through conducting special enforcement operations that target specific problem areas. During these enforcements, deputies make many arrests on quality of life violations. These violations include offenses such as drug offenses, public intoxication, battery and resisting arrest.
In December 2020, a new Los Angeles County District Attorney was sworn in. He issued nine new directives, which brought sweeping changes to the criminal justice system and will greatly affect the quality of life in Santa Clarita. Offenses such as the aforementioned quality of life violations, will be rejected by the DA. This means the perpetrators will be arrested and then released shortly thereafter with no further action taken, and no consequences for the crimes committed.
When you add in the policy of not pursuing sentence enhancements for felonies and outright declining to prosecute a number of misdemeanor offenses entirely, these directives are sure to have a strong, negative impact on Santa Clarita’s public safety and overall quality of life.
These new policies threaten to erase the very quality of life that residents greatly value. I implore you to be informed on these issues – particularly how it affects our community – and make your voice heard, so Santa Clarita remains one of the safest cities in the nation. If you would like to share your concerns, you can reach out to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office at [email protected].
Ken Striplin can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in his column are those of the City and do not necessarily reflect those of The Signal.