Crime stats don’t tell real story

March 5, 2012

Karen Daniels


It’s hard to accept as convincing the assertion that crime is down in Paso Robles when one can look out a window at a passing parade of daily lawbreaking.

But the criminal activity that occurs regularly outside the picture windows of Karen Daniels’ Pellet Insurance Services Inc. does not interest the local police, who have ignored “for many years” her complaints, she said.

“We see everything that happens in this parking lot… from both sides of our office. We see the exchanges. We see the money changing hands. We see it all,” said Daniels. “This particular location is a hot spot for this kind of activity.”

Daniels said she questions recent claims by Paso Robles Police Chief Lisa Solomon that crime rates have declined in the North County town of 30,000 since Solomon took the helm of the department in 2007.

“I would certainly want some substantiation of her numbers,” Daniels said.

Solomon has initiated policies and procedures that severely limit the kinds of incidents to which officers are dispatched, or on which they will make a formal report. For example, drug and gang activity, many kinds of assaults, and burglaries with limited financial losses may not even get a patrol response. Both of these factors tend to diminish crime report numbers.

Additionally, the department’s roster of sworn personnel has been greatly reduced under Solomon’s watch, from 46 to 27.

Crime rate statistics are used to justify a department’s written policies; to lobby for pay increases;  for public relations purposes; and for applying for grants and other financial assistance from state and federal agencies.

Daniels said she is speaking out in the hope that other community members will find their voice: “This is a situation that is bad, and getting worse.”

“I had a client in recently, and as she was getting ready to leave, things started happening in the parking lot. ‘What’s going on?’ she asked, and I said, ‘Just watch.; It’s a little horrifying to be in a professional setting, and for that kind of thing to be going on right in front of you. Fortunately, she was a long time friend and client, but we did have to let her out the back door.”

Things have gotten so bad in recent years, Daniels said, that “my employees have to lock the doors when I’m not here. I have called the police. My employees have called the police.”

She estimated that she and her employees have made more than 50 calls to police. “But we have yet to have an officer show up here.”

Has Daniels witnessed a recent growth in obvious criminal activity?

“Absolutely,” she said. Her business has been a tenant at the Spring Street location since 1996, and during that time, “I’ve seen it all. But during the last year or so, there has been a definite uptick in (criminal) activity.”

She worries about her employees sitting in front of windows at the office.

“I didn’t have to worry about that 16 years ago,” she said. “More patrols and more visibility of police would go a long way toward helping solve the problem.”

“I’m aware that I could endure retaliation, it’s a distinct possibility,” she added. “But I have a duty to make sure that my employees are in a safe environment. This situation is way too repetitive and is headed to where someone is going to be injured, or worse.”

Daniels said she thinks the situation has gotten to where “we all have to do our level best to help one another, because our protection is not (the police department’s) number one priority. Right now, all they can do is damage control.”

Daniels said she wants to be a voice for business owners and residents who share her concerns, who can’t get a response from police when needed.

“We are failing as a community if we remain silent,” she said. “We have to join together. The police are our insurance against crime. Their job is to protect and serve, and quite honestly, I think they are failing to do that. What is it going to take?”

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The Tribune called me today for a phone interview in regards to these issues. Dogpound, in all honesty I have not seen a drug deal happen in a few days. Might be premature to say they are not happening. I am just not seeing the activity at this time.

So are “things” still happening there? Do you still call? I am curious as to why you think the cops never showed up? Your place is wide open with an easy view from Spring St. The cops can see the problem area you are talking about just by a head turn. Once you turn onto 18th, the same view can be had of the alley. So, my question is how do you know that your “suspects” are not contacted a block away, or around the corner AFTER they walk away from the “deal”? Maybe they have contacted people/arrested people out of your field of view. If you do not request the speak to the Police when you call, they will not come and speak to you. I am not minimizing your situation at all, and I hope things have gotten better. But they way the article reads, the area is rampant with low-lifes and dopers running amuk. The article does not interview ANYONE else in the complex, even though there are everal other businesses there. It just seems CCN is not doing any research or “investigation”, just printing one person’s opinion.

I suggest you research your statements before continuing in this rabble. Start with prior news articles, posts, and comments made by myself and others from my work area. You could have saved yourself some time and avoided looking so foolish.

My point exactly. Prior articles on CCN, posts and comments. That is not real life. That is not looking at the area with one’s own eyes. That is looking at flawed data and getting one side of the perspective. My intent was not to make you mad or discredit you in any way. My comment was that there was o way they NEVER responded. There were arrests made from that location. There were contacts made away from that location. Just because you call the cops on someone does not mean that that person stays in one area. They move. If the cops contact him/her away from your view, then you will never know what happened, right?

Feel better yet? You obviously think I am without merit and that’s fine by me. I don’t have to convince you otherwise. You do not have all the information that I have. Nuff said.

I NEVER said you were without merit, in fact I said the exact opposite! Why so defensive?!! The slant of the article does not make sense and to say that they NEVER show up is not correct. That’s all. Has the situation stabalized, or are there still problems?? That’s all I want to know? What is happening NOW??

Why are you picking on Danika?

Not picking on her at all. Sorry if it sounded like I was. I asked a few questions of her that’s all. I just think the article is a little biased against PRPD because of all the other stuff going on in Paso. I said many times I am not discrediting Danika at all. I wanted to know if the problems are still there??

Danika, dogpound does not do its own research, but prefers the more limbaughesque approach: coming packed with the goal of detracting from others’ statements and opinions, and blaming the victim along the way.

I am not blaming anyone. You said I am detracting from others’ opinion, but is that not what you are doing to me?? I agree that if this is happenening outside her office, this is a problem. I am not slighting her opinion at all. I am not blaming anyone either. Who am I blaming? What I am saying is he slant of ZERO police enforcement in WRONG. And you Ms. Malone, constantly point that the Police are told NOT to respond to drug/DUI offenses which is also WRONG.

I did my own research, more than you I am sure. I wanted to see for myself what a cesspool this area was. And you know what, I saw nothing. I went there everday for several hours and saw nothing. What I did see were patrol units driving by frequently. Does it not make sense that when she called they made contacts/arrests away from her view? I am sure she saw what she saw, I do not minimize that. But to jump all over the Police, join the bandwagon, with your limited information is flat out short sighted and wrong. I will not convince you, I know that. But I do get to post my opinion. And if you respond with “prefers the more limbaughesque approach” aren’t you not allowing me to express my opinion?

I am not rising to your tantrum, Dogpound. I stand by my statements armed with evidence necessary to prove my words. You can say whatever you want, doesn’t change a thing.

In all due respect danika, I see the same thing happening to DP that happened to me when I commented on this topic. I don’t see him/her as throwing a tantrum, to the contrary DP seems more level headed then most here. I find it refreshing to finally see someone looking at both sides of an issue in this forum. I don’t see DP as taking sides I just see that he’s (I’ll just call him/her him) not going to join the lynch mob and he’s going to look at this with an open mind. I don’t know why you people read into our posts things that aren’t there, I don’t get it, many of you seem to read what you want to read not what’s really there. It would be nice to hear both sides of the story before everyone is ready to lynch Soloman. She might be the worse person in the world, the PD might be akin to Keystone Cops but who knows when we are only being bombarded with one side. Dogp. never said that he didn’t believe you, just as I didn’t. What he’s saying that there could be other explanations. Like me he didn’t say that you or the articles on this are flat out wrong but so far we don’t know the other side.

BTW, how does Mary know that the police are told not to respond? Sounds like more gossip.

Why is that link important? Because it says, “I know a cop….”

Wow, great proof. Well I know a cop that says what the other cop said is not true. We can play “Well MY friend said…!” all day.

Thank you Typoqueen for having some logic. I will say this again, the cops are NOT told NOT to repsond. They prioritize like all police departments. The lower level it-will-be-a-while calls are: barking dogs, parties, parkers, etc.. That saves man power to GO TO drug calls, crimes in progress, DUI’s etc..

Do your own research.

How do you know whether you have hear “the facts” or not?

For all you know, they could just be more of the “gossip” you are trying to avoid. Or, they could be disinformation, outright lies, distortions, obfuscations, illusions, evasions……the list goes on.

How does a jury in court come to know “the facts”? Do they know them simply because they have heard “both sides”?

Let me get this straight.

Dogpound ( private investegator want-to-be) drives by the alleged crime location, spends a couple of hours hiding behind a telephone pole, doesn’t see any nefarious characters, so obviously no crimes have been committed,

I feel much better because dogpound is on the case.

Not what I said and great job taking it out of context. What I meant was this: the way the article sounded was as if this was going on all the time, it was rampant, and nothing was being done. I wanted to see for myself. I did not hide behind a telephone pole. The pole would not hide me. Maybe a dumpster or something with more girth, but I digress.

I actually went out there and looked to see what was going on. I agree this was a microcosm in time compared to Danika, but at least I went to look. I wanted perspective. Never said the crime never occurred based on what I saw. I said that the place is WIDE open and not a good spot for drug deals. The cops drive up/down Spring and can easily see this locale. Second, once the delaers/buyers leave SDanika’s field of view, how would she know if they were contacted around the corner or down the block??

I am glad I make you feel better. If you need me to spy on your cheating wife/girlfriend I can find a telephone pole to hide behind for a small fee.

Define “small fee”, please ;)

LOLOL! I too feel much better.

Just quit picking on Danika.

Bless your heart, Mary! But I am made of tough stuff; I grew up with 6 sisters and ONE bathroom and a father who was a drill sgt. :O


So now having a difference of opinion is defined as “picking on someone”.? I read Dogpound’s posts twice and found them to be respectful and non confrontational. Danika, one of my favorite CCN posters, this time comes off as defensive.

Everyone take a deep breath…

Yesterday, I received a hand written thank you card in the mail at work. i have been on the receiving end of many positive comments about this article and for someone to take the time to write me a note, pay postage, and mail it to me is extremely rewarding in itself. Please accept my sincerest thank you for this gesture of support. I have seen a different side of our Paso community through all of this. We all want the same thing and I believe we have all made a positive step forward. Blessings.

Let me follow up the comment that likely will receive more thumbs down than any I have posted before. I totally support.

If you want to fight crime, follow Crusader’s advice and get a carry permit and a gun. You will not feel as vulnerable, you will be able to protect yourself against *real* criminals, and you will be taking a *real* step towards making this a more law-abiding society. Police rarely prevent crimes, and if anything the way we handle policing in this policing helps contribute to disenfranchising people (especially minorities) and giving them reasons to turn to crime. Hell, the REAL point of all of this is that you CANNOT trust the police, because they TOO are acting like criminals by fabricating statistics and violating constitutional rights at every possible opportunity. They are usually there after the fact to clean up, and protect the real criminals from the ire of the victims and/or their families.

“the way we handle policing in this policing helps contribute to disenfranchising people (especially minorities) and giving them reasons to turn to crime.” Are you saying that policing is a reason people turn to crime? Because I don’t blame others for my actions. I am responsible for every decision, act and consequence of what I do. Obviously, you feel you are exempt from responsibility.

I do not feel we cannot “trust” the police. I feel they have neglected an area of high criminal activity and felt the need to work toward a safer working environment for my employees.

“protect the real criminals from the ire of the victims and/or their families”. So police protect the criminals against the victims and the victims families?

I am no crime fighter nor do I ever plan on wearing that cape.

DANIKA: “I am no crime fighter nor do I ever plan on wearing that cape.”

But I bet you’d look fetching if you did =)

You may be an exception to the rule. But a large number of people, at some point, especially in their youth, get into some kind of mischief. Let’s just use kids smoking pot for an example. A good percentage of these people don’t get caught, and they ultimately stop their mischief and go on to lead good lives. But a certain percentage will get caught by police, and so begins a cycle from which some never return. Certainly, we are all responsible for our own decisions. But you do not know, for sure, what you would be like if you grew up in a place where you were a minority, you were poor, perhaps one of your parents (not your fault) was in prison or not there. It is my opinion that a lot of the morality people take credit for is born from circumstantial convenience.

With that said, it would be naive to think that police do not focus more on poor minorities. This greatly increases the chances that someone is going to get arrested for something stupid than if they were a middle class white kid. This further fuels the cycle of both crime and the perception of increased crime among minorities.

With regard to the police protecting criminals. Yes, I do think that in the sense that in a society without police, how do you think the criminals would be handled?

Mkaney wrote “But you do not know, for sure, what you would be like if you grew up in a place where you were a minority, you were poor, perhaps one of your parents (not your fault) was in prison or not there. It is my opinion that a lot of the morality people take credit for is born from circumstantial convenience.”

Perhaps I do know what I would be like having been raised in those circumstances. Do poverty and race factor into the crime rate? Many stats say they do. However, because we’re all made of the same stuff, we have like failings, though acted out differently. Some mischief makers are simply more sophisticated and (initially) less obvious than those of the drug-deal-in-the-parking-lot variety. Just ask Kelly Gearhart, the regular Joe & Jane tax cheats, the highly educated date rapist, or the rich kid who shoplifts CDs at WalMart.

I can tell you they would be delt with swiftly and severely , not slap there hands and put them back out on the streets for the LAW ABIDING citizens to deal with

Trouble is, you have to essentially be law enforcement or ex-law enforcement to get a concealed weapons permit.

It is virtually impossible to get one in SLO county. They make it sooo hard.

Their policy on issuance, from their website:

“Convincing evidence of a clear and present danger to life or of great bodily harm to the applicant, spouse, co-habitant, domestic partner, or dependent child which cannot be adequately dealt with by existing law enforcement resources; and which danger cannot be reasonably avoided by alternative measures; and which danger would be significantly mitigated by the applicant’s carrying of a concealed weapon.”

Sound to you like any one of us will be getting one?

Well said, mkaney. People are responsible for protecting themselves. That’s not the job of the police. The job of the police is to enforce the laws. That’s quite another matter.

When people arm themselves, the crime rate goes down.

In my book, worrying about people who you do not have to interact with, that have done nothing to you, because they are making a transaction involving a substance you do not approve of, is not minding your own business, not witnessing crime. Again, it is merely my own opinion, but *real* crime is when someone takes something from you, hurts you, or makes you do something against your will.

With that said, if there is any increase in crime stats in Paso, it might actually just reflect an increase in the number of self-righteous people, or an increase in the number of people they look down upon that otherwise do nothing to bother anyone.

Help me out here, mkaney.

So what if I’m your neighbor and I witness suspicious activity, such as someone casing your home or your vehicle and do nothing about it? Should I not report it because I ought to be minding my own business? After all, they aren’t taking something from you, hurting you or making you do anything against your will…right?

Should suspicious activity be allowed to flourish and carried out to fruition? Part of police presence and Neighborhood Watch type of activity is geared to prevent crime, which to me makes a lot more sense than enabling the commission of crimes. This includes the sale and transfer of controlled substances.

Not “worrying” takes NIMBY to a new level and it all sounds quite libertarian until it’s your son or daughter becoming addicted or ODing on one of those substances that one does not “approve of.”

What you’re describing is indeed what I would consider, suspicious activity, suggestive that a real crime may be about to occur. That should be reported.

So I don’t misunderstand, you just agreed that suspicious activity, suggestive that a real crme may be about to occur is perfectly okay to report to the police?

I did, with the caveat that I don’t consider the act of selling contraband to be in and of itself a “real crime.” I would prefer that crimes be defined as those which violate “natural law.” But clearly, I do not always get my way lol

SOOOO its ok if they sell your kids dope?

Perhaps you were not aware that the image of “pushers” is somewhat contrived. These are not vacuum cleaner salesman. It is not that they are selling my kids dope, it would be that my kids were BUYING dope. You cannot pose such a question in a vacuum, or it would demonstrate your complete ignorance of reality. In reality, making drugs illegal and throwing dealers and users in prison does NOT result in the outcome you seek. It does not eliminate drugs, it does not keep your kids off them, and should they decide to use drugs, it sets them up for total and complete failure instead of what may otherwise be a short term mistake in life. Sometimes, when you try to control something in life, you wind up walking face first into PARADOX. In this case, it would seem pretty clear to me that your solution does not accomplish its goal, and in fact creates more crime, destroys more families, and results in a more dangerous product on the street.

Read a detailed history of alcohol prohibition and its consequences sometime. Then, put aside your knee-jerk fears for a moment and connect the dots to drug prohibition. There is ZERO difference, I’m afraid.

MKaney. I think you have the wrong idea. These drug dealers are not college kids or ordinary everyday people making little exchanges. They are pretty rough guys, dope fiends, parolees, gang members, vagrants, and possibly drug cartel dealers–at least the ones I’ve seen.

If you want them in your neighborhood, or where your business clients approach your office, I guess that’s okay, but most people don’t. The neighboring donut shop was robbed not too long ago, and we’ve had two homicides on this street. When Daniels has taken to locking her doors in the day time because of the people hanging out in the parking lot, I’d say the police need to show up when called.

No, I am not mistaken about the “kind” of people you are talking about. But that is kind of my point. You probably have neighbors that are as dishonest and deceitful as some of the “rough guys”, “dope fiends”, “gang members”, and “vagrants.” You don’t perceive it, because their trade itself is not illegal and that allows them to continue in their behavior without standing out, and keep their affairs in order. Maybe they sell a crappy product, or are some of the people that are involved in fabricating statistics, manipulate government contracts, or work for a company that makes its money improving our ability to kill people worldwide. Either way they are benefiting from the loss of someone else. Try getting a job after getting caught dealing drugs though, no matter what their quality was, how fair the price was, or if you never directly hurt anyone that wasn’t consenting. I am reminded of the scene in Scarface.. “That’s the bad guy. So what do I make you? Good? You’re not good, you just know how to hide.” (I am not referring to you in particular of course).

It is precisely because of the marginalization of people, and the prohibition on drugs, that the more serious “real” crimes follow the drugs. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And I have to say that you have kind of helped me make my point, because I ASSURE you that there are NO DRUG CARTEL dealers (maybe some wanna-be’s, but that’s it) in your neighborhood, lol, that’s funny though.

What we have are second and third hand dealers who get their dope from drug cartel connections, and I can assure you that this is true. To me they are drug cartel people, to you they are wannabees, but I should have been more specific.

Several of the transactions we witnessed were from one of the suspects arrested for the Farmhouse Motel murder. M.U.R.D.E.R. I know this because the suspect lived near to my office and seen nearly every day. We had called the police about the the suspect’s transactions and they did not respond. As the murder was drug related it isn’t a stretch to connect the dots without being too “self-righteous”. I consider murder a *real* crime, don’t you?

I would definitely consider it a real crime. But I would suggest to you that had the police taken action based on your calls, it would not have changed anything in the long run. Maybe that particular murder would not have occurred, but it is likely that he would’ve harmed someone. And what if the person you had called the police on was not a hardened criminal yet? They certainly would be after they got out of prison, now even more desperate, unable to get a job, and having been surrounded for years by even nastier people.

“maybe that particular murder would not have occurred”. You would feel very different if the victim had been your son or daughter. And if my call and resulting police action had prevented your loved one’s murder, you would be thankful for self-righteous people like me calling the police.

Danika, I agree with so many of your comments on this one.

Isn’t it interesting when people who do NOT want the “interference” of a police presence will complain after the fact when those officers weren’t on the scene to protect them?

If any of us ever make that argument, it is usually just for the sake of making a point about how having them did us little good,

I think people who take the stance of no police presence may have reason to keep their distance from the police.

Well of course you do Danika, of course you do. That really is part of the point I am trying to make.

Is there a reason you don’t want a police presence near you , Mkaney?

If the police would make an arrest of ANYONE in Danika’s parking lot for dealing drugs or anything else illegal, it would bring change.

Of course, other arrests would need to be made from time to time to reenforce the lesson about dealing drugs in that parking lot being a potential road to the lockup.

But even one arrest would cool things down for awhile.

Mary, the neighborhood has already changed for the better. One of the known drug houses is recently vacant. A very good start, I say!

No, it wouldn’t, not for the drug situation as a whole. For the little neighborhood that you are talking about, perhaps, temporarily. I know the latter was what you meant, but we really ought to be looking beyond our noses and see the bigger picture.

The problem with Paso is that you cannot trust the crime statistics they generate. Even with the many-excused reasons for submitting inaccurate information originally, the second set of stats Solomon submitted STILL did not match, nor add up to, the stats from the State and Feds.

If the states do an audit, we may get the truth. However, with solomon in charge of the statistics, she may have completely corrupted them so that even an audit won’t reveal the truth.

So I think residents of Paso need to assess for themselves whether or not crime is occurring, and if it is increasing or decreasing, then make plans for their own security based on the information their observations indicate is true.

Update: Today, the PRPD SUV patrol unit patrolled my office parking lot. THANK YOU! I feel doing this a couple of times a day would help the situation immensely. Your efforts are appreciated.

GREAT! I bet they were embarrassed that the CHP had to do their job for them. The timing of the visit by the PRPD patrol visit is too coincidental.

They will just go somewhere else. Of course, that DOES make things better where you work, true enough, and if that were the extent of the issue, then we could all celebrate and be done with it. S

Same citywide, though. It isn’t going anywhere far away, I assure you.