Denise Lite | A Change in Our Community Safety

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Every day the local news includes more and more evidence of the rising crime rates in the Santa Clarita Valley. Something has changed in the valley we all know and love. 

Everything from smash-and-grab robberies of our businesses in Valencia and neighboring Stevenson Ranch to attempted carjackings in Newhall to automobile theft and break-ins across the valley are occurring with distressing regularity.

To be clear, the change nor the blame isn’t with our hard-working men and women in law enforcement at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

I stand completely and confidently with our Santa Clarita deputies who are doing the best they can within the system run by pro-criminal Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.

Gascón’s detrimental policies such as no-cash bail and lowered criminal penalties/elimination of enhancements are terrible for the safety and security of our community.

In addition, an increase in mass retirements as well as lateral moves to other more law-enforcement-friendly states has also likely brought about the lower workforce numbers. It doesn’t help that the local SCV Sheriff’s Station is down 30% in deputies. As a result, in order to cover the needs of our growing city, deputies at the SCV Sheriff’s Station currently work 30 days straight without a single day off. There are approximately 289 deputies assigned to the Santa Clarita station and if the workforce is reduced further, every resident and every visitor to the Santa Clarita Valley will be at a higher risk of becoming not only a victim of crime, but also a victim of slower response times by an already stretched-thin Sheriff’s Department. Are we really going to expect our deputies to work 40 or 50 days without a day off? That’s insane and places our deputies in danger.

As a newly elected City Council member I will work to create a public safety commission to investigate the propriety of having our own locally based city attorney in order to prosecute criminals arrested for perpetrating crimes within the SCV. No longer will we be beholden to Los Angeles attorneys who don’t live or work among local crime victims. Santa Clarita is large enough to have our own city attorney and not be lumped in with the rest of northern Los Angeles County.

I hope the current Santa Clarita City Council holds a weekend open house at City Hall as soon as possible to facilitate the recall of D.A. Gascón through petition-signing and phone-banking. It will send a strong message that we do not support lawlessness in our city. With the open house, Santa Clarita residents will also be encouraged to meet their City Council members in person. By building personal relationships, I believe council members can better keep SCV residents informed about state and local laws that impact our community and, in turn, the residents can be better educated in the voting booth.

Higher crime rates hurt us all. Santa Claritans deserve better. As crime rises in Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County due to the criminal-friendly policies, I urge you to join me in the recall George Gascón effort and to stand proudly with our men and women in uniform.

Denise Lite 

Santa Clarita

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