Azusa: Community + Police = reduced crime

No secret that crime has been a concern of mine for a while. I spotted the most interesting two articles posted on the Crime Scene Blog HERE and HERE.  The two articles were based on a press release from the Azusa Police Department.  The Azusa PD had done some visits of the home of those currently on parole and probation.  The purpose to check on the individuals compliance  of the parole and probation terms.  They wound up getting 16 arrests for a variety of violations. 

In one of the comments Lt Frank Chavez of Azusa PD signed off with his phone number. I gave him a call to find out what happened, why, the usual stuff.

I appreciated the candor.  Crime in Asuza was down 11%.  As a comparison several communities in the San Gabriel Valley had increases in crime last year.  I knew it was a loaded question when I asked “so what did you do different”.  A lot of things actually. 

Active policing is a start.  The visits to makes sure parole and probation terms is only one facet.  The more important part was informing the community, getting their involvement and working together. 

I had to preface with one question as I saw the comments with my own “I can filter the comments knowing who was arrested in the visits from the others” but how does the average person not know to give the “picking on me” stuff credibility?  Easier than I thought.  He put it to me in a context I never gave it much thought to.  Parole and Probation are ways to avoid jail time.  While avoiding sitting in jail your standard parole and probation contracts include provisions for unannounced visits to ensure compliance.  So when they make those visits if they find something the usual search and seizure rules are modified and those rights were signed off by the individual when they accepted the parole or probation. 

I asked him what in the community are they doing different than the others.  I didn’t mean to put him on the spot for criticism on a specific agency so I do apologize. I was seeking insights that could work where I live.  First is that their department has never been an agency not afraid to call in the County or whomever for help if they need it.  They work hard knowing that social and economic changes may undermine or influence the community so they never let up on their efforts.  They know that the constant presence will pressure those not willing to obey the law to stop or move away.  Their results are do to years of hard work. The policing visits to monitor compliance for parole and probation terms is nothing new, they have a long history of doing them a couple of times a year.

They do work with the community.  If needed they help community groups with funding for projects.  He offered great praise for the community efforts for giving kids support networks, help in getting the grades, alternatives in their lives, get to college or jut get some place where they will be productive citizens.

One group in particular is a community let initiative  called the “Homework House”.  This is a community lead idea and they are associated with the nationally based “Homework House Network”.  These parents have it set up so kids have a place to go after school where they can study, get their homework done and stay away from trouble.  He was very clear this was a community idea and they get all the credit for making it happen.  Lt. Chavez said that Azusa police give this group praise and support as they see the results.

Ending it all he had one quote I will share “A community that wants to thrive cannot be complacent”.  I concur.