Santa Clarita has long been hailed as one of the safest cities in the nation. Year after year, polls and rankings place our city at the top. This was not by accident. Maintaining the safety of our residents has been a priority of the City Council since incorporation in 1987. This is seen in our collaboration with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, the city’s work to preserve the integrity of our neighborhoods and the innovative programs and events that inform and educate residents of all ages.
The city invests in public safety through the nearly $30-million annual contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. We work closely with the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department on a comprehensive, multi-faceted crime reduction strategy to prevent and combat crime. This includes special operations and saturation patrols that target potential crimes, from DUIs to grand theft auto.
We also work very closely with our deputies to educate the community and develop campaigns that provide information on how to keep residents from becoming the victim of a crime. You no doubt have seen the advertisements for the #9PMRoutine, reminding residents to remember every night at 9 p.m. to lock their doors, windows and keep valuables out of sight. Another bold campaign collaboration is the Guard that Auto campaign. Taking a note from the popular Grand Theft Auto video game, residents are reminded to keep their keys out of the hands of thieves by not leaving them in or anywhere near the car, park in well-lit areas and use theft prevention devices.
The most visible evidence of the city’s investment in public safety is the new, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. The 46,000-square-foot facility, which opened last October, offers the space and resources necessary for our deputies, detectives and other station staff to protect and serve the Santa Clarita community now and well into the future. This new station boasts a 4,000-square-foot vehicle maintenance facility for on-site vehicle repairs, a heliport, 9-1-1 dispatch center, jail and much more.
Our city is also dedicated to proactively maintaining the integrity and safety of our neighborhoods. The Community Preservation Division works to remove graffiti, encourage compliance with state and city codes and keep our city clean. They do all of this while developing successful relationships with residents and businesses to instill pride and continue to improve the quality of life in the community.
In addition to Santa Clarita’s reputation as a safe city, we are also recognized as a family-friendly community, which is why we have created award-winning programs to help keep our youngest residents safe. The very successful Drug Free Youth in the Santa Clarita Valley (DFYinSCV) program educates and empowers students to make good choices, combat negative peer pressure and provides them with easy-to-remember strategies to say no to drugs and alcohol. This program reaches kids in elementary school and supports them through high school with fun programs, activities and opportunities to help their peers stay drug-free.
Parents are able to learn of the challenges their students face through the Parent Resource Symposiums. These hard-hitting events feature experts who, in no uncertain terms, inform of the dangers of drug use, inappropriate use of social media, vaping and more. Parents are provided the information they need to know about what warning signs to look for and how to talk to their children about the dangers of drug use.
I am proud of the work our city has done and the safe community we have created, which makes it extremely frustrating to see how the current district attorney’s directives have caused a spike in crime in Santa Clarita and across the Southland. It has been more than a year now since the Santa Clarita City Council showed regional leadership, being the first city in Los Angeles County to adopt a vote of no confidence in District Attorney George Gascón. Since then, more than 30 other cities have followed suit and are supporting a recall effort in order to enhance public safety and protect the general public and victims’ rights.
Thanks to Gascón’s directives, once a criminal is arrested by our deputies, they are rarely charged or punished, leading to an uptick in smash-and-grab robberies, assaults, car thefts and more. I encourage all of you to learn more about what is going on in our criminal justice system in L.A. County. Please read more about the recall effort at RecallDAGeorgeGascon.com.
Marsha McLean is a member of Santa Clarita’s City Council and can be reached at [email protected].