Connecting the community with those who are tasked to protect them, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Foundation hosted, “An Evening with Capt. Diez,” on Thursday at the Mercedes-Benz of Valencia.
“Relationships are important,” said Gloria Mercardo-Fortine, president of the SCV Sheriff’s Foundation, “and I think in this time, there is just so much misinformation.”
Members of the community gathered into Mercedes-Benz of Valencia, taking advantage of the opportunity to talk one-on-one with Capt. Justin Diez before the event’s commencement.
Mayor Jason Gibbs and councilmember Laurene Weste were in attendance.
Mercardo-Fortine opened the event by recognizing all of the work the SCV Sheriff’s Foundation does for the station such as purchasing equipment, creating spaces for breaks, volunteering and providing any aid to the station in areas where the L.A. County and city governments cannot.
“We want to make sure that our community remains safe and that our sheriff, our law enforcement is supported as they do their job to keep us safe,” said Mercardo-Fortine.
Diez took to the podium and spoke on the current status of crime in Santa Clarita.
According to Diez, the SCV Sheriff’s Station receives approximately 500 calls for service or self-generated activity a day. In 2022, the station received almost 100,000 calls for service or self-generated activity.
Approximately 400 arrests were made per month in 2022, resulting in approximately 5,000 arrests that year.
“Our violent crime is very, very, very low, and our property crime is pretty high actually,” said Diez, “but again, crime is very low considering what we have out here.”
Diez said that since 2020, the crime rate has risen, but remains low compared to other cities.
In February, Smart Asset named Santa Clarita as the 4th safest city in America.
“This does not happen in other communities, guys,” said Diez. “We may take it for granted because this is just the culture we have in Santa Clarita and this is all we know, but I have worked many sheriff’s stations and I can tell you, for a fact, this does not happen anywhere else.”
Diez addressed all questions the audience had in regards to volunteering at the station, staffing shortages at the station, the state of homelessness in the valley and even sharing the story of their peer support canine, Ginger.