Crime stats don’t tell real story

March 5, 2012

Karen Daniels

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

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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Ted Slanders

.

It would seem to me that if a Paso Roble’s PO had nothing else to do but to wait for a call from dispatch, then they could at least wait it out in the parking lot in question! This would give police presence in Danika’s business area. A win-win situation. If the cime element moves, FOLLOW THEM AROUND TOWN AND SIT AND WAIT FOR YOUR CALL FROM THE NEW SPOT!


Hell, I am sure that Danika could even go as far as bringing the police some fresh donuts and coffee as they wait in her parking lot! Okay, that was crass, but had to be said.


With Danika’s lead, we can only hope that more business’ follow her role and come forth with the same scenario. Sometimes, it gets to a point where enough is enough!


A lot of “squeeky wheels” will eventually get the grease!


Way to go Danika!


danika

Ted, THANK YOU! I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my “squeeky wheel”. I am not done. I will continue to press on until SOMEONE listens and affirmative action is taken. We all need to get involved in our communities. We fail as a society when we do nothing.


fhill123

I am for “SQUEAKY” wheels also!


Ted Slanders

fhill123,


I was emphasizing the “e” in the word squeaky in a facetious manner! I should have added an additional “e” to show this fact, and this would have prevented you from assuming that you’re the grammar nazi of this forum. :)


fhill123

Slander you are well-named.


IronHub

Karen Daniels For Mayor!


Mr. Holly

Very brave comments from someone who would challenge the integrity of the police chief, city manager and the city council-that is if there is any integrity left.

It appears that the “leaders” of Paso Robles have transformed into ostriches and have put their heads in the stink hole of Paso Robles and are waiting for the Santa Ana winds to blow their problems away.

I think they are going to loose this one or at least they should, their cup of bs has runeth over. Paso Robles should go for a clean sweep. But if they did that they would probably have to pay out for all of the settlements, “medical” retirements and now all of the accrued vacation time that Jim App says has no financial liability on the city. Well why don’t we all just sit back and see how this works out. Looks like there is 3 strikes against the citizens of Paso Robles and they are going to loose big time.


Disgusted

Every town should be lucky enough to have citizens like you that are willing to speak up for the betterment of the community. I hope the city leaders are as brave, as well as other community members.


MaryMalone

The city leaders are the problem.


They have had ample time and notification to at least attempt to fix the problems, and, instead, have taken a position of supporting those responsible for the dangerous public environment that now exists in Paso Robles, and aggressively acting AGAINST the residents who seek to be heard at city council meetings.


The city council IS the problem. They have the power to institute positive change, and have chosen to, instead, ensure that the citizens of Paso Robles are at increasingly greater risk of harm.


The city council is on the side of the criminals at this point. They are hostile to the residents of Paso Robles.


MakersMark

“The city council is on the side of the criminals at this point. They are hostile to the residents of Paso Robles.” That’s quite a statement. Idiotic though it be. Quite a statement.


MaryMalone

If you had been following what has been going on in Paso Robles, you would understand my statement about how “the city council is on the side of the criminals at this point,” and why “they are hostile to the residents of Paso Robles.”


I’m not going to spend two pages bringing you up to speed. Do a search here at CCN for articles about chief solomon. That will get you started. Then, at the bottom of each of those articles, there will be links to other related articles.


IronHub

MakersMark has been sipping too much of the product bearing the same name. MaryMalone’s analysis is spot on. Anyone in this town knows that to be true — unless, perhaps — he or she is raking in taxpayer’s dollars as an overpaid apologist for criminal city employee actions.


Typoqueen

Good article danika! If I lived in the north county I’d come see about getting my insurance from you. Love it, really good job, I hope you get some positive results from this well written article. Please keep us posted to let us know if the PD listens to your concerns and decides to finally take action.


danika

TQ, I certainly will keep you posted as to what comes of this. Thanks for the positive input.


bobfromsanluis

Danika (Karen): I find it very brave of you to speak out about the current failings of the Paso PD, I respect the manner in which you stated your case without any mention of the accusations against the chief, but kept your focus on the failings of her policies which have resulted in the fewer numbers of patrol officers on the beat. I also admire that you identified your screen name here as well. Good luck to you and your employees.


danika

Thanks, Bob. I really appreciate your comments and well wishes.


danika

A very good article, Dan. Thank you and CCN for letting me speak to other people, who may be experiencing the same frustrations of not having police presence where it is needed. We can only be effective when we get involved.


Black_Copter_Pilot

Danika outed


danika

Yes, she did!


Kevin Rice

Daniels’ assertions mean little without evidence. She needs to be taking photographs and logging the date and time of every incident and every call to the police, including the dispatcher’s ID number. Every single time. She needs to correlate every call to an incident number, then pull a copy of the report for every call indicating the disposition. THAT would be proof.


danika

I have ample proof. Thanks for your advise, though. Good to know.


SLOChildrenAtPlay

danika:


Having been a former State LEO, and also having worked in private security myself, I would highly suggest installing 24 hour surveillance cameras that montior the entire exterior of your building in all directions.


These cameras have become really inexpensive, and your average computer geek can install them. Then you will have video evidence of everything you witness. If your business has an I.T. representative, ask him/her about installing cameras.


danika

Thank you for your advice. It is communication like yours and others that will help better not only my situation but that of others.


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