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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Slowerfaster

Crimes that don’t get reported, or recorded, ARE NEVER PART OF THE STATISTICS !


We all know that Al Capone was a ruthless killer, an extortionist, a corporate bootlegger, a mob kingpin. But the one crime he is statistically counted for is TAX EVASION.


MaryMalone

Great point!


BRING IN THE BEAN COUNTERS! I understand our state government has some dandy accountants who are well qualified–after their experience with the City of Bell–to do many different kinds of audits on Paso Robles, including its city council and police department.


Crusader

This is really why App and Solomon need to be canned. Slowly but surely bad people are getting a foothold in Paso Robles due to the aforementioned losers. The longer the people of Paso wait to take action the more difficult they will be to eradicate and the greater chance of this cancer spreading further south.


I think the Paso PD needs to be quietly shuttered and the city needs to contract with the Sheriff’s Department for services. Maybe in the future Paso will have a non-scumbag city manager and city council but until then this is too dangerous to let fester.


ApathyWillKillYou

The Paso Robles City Council continues their ‘head in the sand’ Ostrich mentality by not addressing the matters at hand.


Current agenda for Tuesday, March 6 does NOT include ANY of the recent controversial items brought up by this forum and other local media.


http://www.prcity.com/government/citycouncil/agendas/2011-2015/2012_CC_AGD_03-06.pdf


There are two items in CLOSED SESSION that were not there last meeting… wonder what they are?


They’re gonna get away this folks!


Solomon and App will ride off into the sunset unscathed with lots of hard earned (especially these days) tax payer money for the rest of their lives!


MaryMalone

The agenda has to have some kind of description of what is being discussed in closed session. If it has to do with a lawsuit from an employee or former employee, the person’s name has to be listed AND they have to give the person legal notice that their lawsuit will be discussed in closed session.


In addition, the person (and their attorney) has/have the right to attend closed session during every moment that their lawsuit is being discussed. The person and their attorney cannot comment, however.


Crusader

The only way App and Solomon will exit unscathed is if the Paso City Council continues to act like 5 cowardly scumbags — scumbags that were voted into office by the people of Paso Robles


TypoKing

“Crime stats don’t tell real story’


“Paso Robles claims the computer did it””


“Is Paso Robles fabricating crime statistics?”


THREE RECENT HEADLINES IN CALCOAST NEWS.


BUT WHERE ARE THE STATISTICS?


SHOW THE NUMBERS!


SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON OF WHAT CHIEF SOLOMON GAVE CCN AND WHAT SHE GAVE DOJ.


I have a deep respect for Karen Velie and Daniel Blackburn and I know they have the documents to prove these stats so why not publish them in DETAIL.


IF CCN went to the trouble of forcing a governmental body to abide by the Freedom of Information Act then why can’t they publish the findings? (back up documents, .pdf’s, etc.)


I bring this up to silence the critics and skeptics of CCN so that CCN can shine as bright as is possible because currently CCN is not getting as much respect it has rightfully earned through diligent and in depth investigation!


VIVA CCN!


Dogpound

“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”

Again CCN is not reporting accurately. The above statement is a misrepresentation of the facts. Police agencies commonly prioritize calls. They have to. Crimes in progress, violent crimes, crimes against people take first priority. “Cold” calls will have to wait. The ones that wait WILL get a response, just a delayed one. To say that they may not even get a patrol response is not true.

I also recall reading in the paper, the “crime blotter”, that a drug bust was made in the DK’s parking lot not too long ago, and a house directly across the street was raided as well.. I am sure that she does call, but a normal response time of 5 minutes will miss a 30-45 second drug deal. I can understand her frustration, but can also understand why what she is saying, or is being reported, is not entirely valid. Blast away!


MaryMalone

Yeah, we understand she prioritizes the police calls. Unfortunately, what takes top priority is her public-relations photo-op opportunities in which she wastes her officers’ time by using them as photo props.


She also prioritizes her illegal ticket-quota system, where officers waste time looking for low-level traffic violations to cite, instead of making the residences and businesses of Paso Robles safer.


Nice try at whitewashing the the corrupt, incompetent mess created by those “leading” Paso Robles, but it won’t work.


What part of Chief Gropinator’s “safe mode” policy don’t you get? What part of the entire article about the crime that happens near businesses that the PD ignores? Do you not understand the concept behind the illegal “quota” gotcha traffic ticket system Chief Gropinator has instituted?


If an area is a known hangout for drug deals, then the police target the area to make it drug-deal unfriendly. Same with gang activities.


Dogpound

What makes this difficult is that most all of you are basing your information on this site and each other. I am not trying to “whitewash” anything. If the investigation finds that she did something wrong, then she has to answer to that. Not sure what the photo props issue is.


As far as the illegal ticket quota, that is ONE officer that is making that accusation. Anyone can file a lawsuit. Most City cops are expected to work in all areas: crime reports, drugs, DUI, etc.and TRAFFIC. If there is not much going on one day, there is always traffic problems. How can you justify someone NOT getting a ticket if they blow a red light, stop sign, or pull out in front of people. I have to register my car, why not issue a ticket to those that don’t? Maybe that ONE cop does not like to write tickets or feels that he is above writing tickets. Whatever that means.


I understand “safe mode” just fine. It is prioritizing calls. Nothing is ignored, just prioritized. Sorry if you have to wait if the chihuahua is barking next door. What do you expect when there are two cops working in a city of 30,000? As far as staffing goes, blame city counsel for not hiring. Actually, blame the economy for taking a dump. Not like Paso was not effected at all. Get real.


As far as targeting the drug area, it looks like arrests have been made there according to the crime blotters. I am glad she is saying there is a problem there though, maybe it will get more attention. I do have a friend that lives over on Beverly (I think) that had a drug house there. She was very impressed that PRPD arrested people out of the house often and eventually raided it, shutting it down. It took a two to three months, but it got shut down. No longer a problem.


MaryMalone

Again, do your own research. You seem to think you are informed. However, if you aren’t willing to even do a simple internet search, then you are willfully remaining ignorant.


But, I guess you couldn’t support your opinions if you actually did the research.


It was cute, a few decades ago, when Eddie Murphy put his hands over his ears and said “LA-LA-LA-LA, I’m not listening!”


However, two decades later, when you do it over such serious issues, it stinks.


http://calcoastnews.com/2012/02/paso-robles-police-protection-dwindling-2/


MaryMalone

Again, you fabricate excuses in a very sad attempt to whitewash chief-solomon policies, and impacts of her policies, which have made PR and its citizens more at risk to harm.


If you would have even done a search on CCN, you would have found out the following:


During safety mode, only two patrol officers are available to take calls. Dispatchers do not send an officer to 18 types of crimes including battery that is not in progress, theft reports when a suspect is not in custody, drug activity, family disturbances and DUI calls.


…and…


…several officers claim that while Solomon has reduced drug and DUI responses, she is reprimanding officers who do not write enough high-dollar traffic tickets to comply with a questionable ticket quota system further reducing their ability to combat drug and gang activity.

During the past year, Paso Robles’ violent and gang-related crimes have soared with a rash of drug and/or gang-related crimes, including murders, stabbings, robberies, assaults and drive-by shootings.


…and….


As a result, officials last year organized a multi-agency task force with a goal of identifying and arresting gang members. During Labor Day weekend, law enforcement personnel including San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies blanketed Paso Robles as they rolled out their “Safe Streets” campaign, making 35 arrests and issuing 30 traffic citations.

“We will bring together all resources at my disposal and introduce additional law enforcement partners, including FBI, California Highway Patrol, Monterey County Sheriffs, Probation and Parole, as well as enhancing our local gang task force,” said Sheriff Ian Parkinson during a press conference he held with Solomon in September.


That’s right. County Sheriffs Department had to step in and do Solomon’s job for her.


Now, THAT’s something all Paso Robles residents can be proud of, right?


danika

The two PRPD officers that spoke to me on the phone admitted to knowing my area was a known drug area; in fact, they both gave me their cell phone numbers to call them when activity happens. We called…and called. Both officers agreed to meet with me on the following Monday to address the issue in my office. Both officers stood me up. I called on them again. Wouldn’t you know, no response.

If I am driving behind an obviously drunk driver, I can call 911 with a license plate and discription of the driver/car and they will likely locate the suspect and cite them. But if I witness drug deals and give them video of the exchange, license plate numbers, descriptions of people involved…they do nothing. Nothing!

The doing nothing must stop.


MaryMalone

Actually, drunk drivers are not the kind of calls– when chief solomon activates her “safe mode” policy–to which officers can be sent.


Just like drug trafficking is not a crime to which officers can be stopped.


However, if you can manage to get the annual Santa’s Sleigh public-relations boondoggle to occur in the problematic parking lot, especially if that is where the reporters would take their pictures of chief solomon, THEN you could get some police officers to respond—as publicity props.


danika

Dogpound, the drug deals that go on in the parking lot take much longer than 30-45 seconds. When someone gets injured because the PRPD is not taking this matter serious enough, there will bigger issues than my validity. At the end of the day, their are safety issues that must be addressed and the PRPD is well aware of them.


fhill123

I admire your tenacity. Why not start a petition drive to oust the present police chief?


danika

I am Irish and tenacity is my middle name. I feel the matter is relevant to not just the police chief, but also to the entire city council and city manager.


fhill123

One rotten apple at a time is probably easier than throwing out the barrel.


MaryMalone

That is not true, as the City of Bell found out.


All it took was a TRULY independent investigation by the State, and Bell’s residents got rid of ALL of the criminals running their city.


It’s time for the State to step in and get rid of the criminal officials.


Dogpound

About how long do they take, out of curiosity?? I can not imagine two druggies exchanging pleasentries about the weather, what’s going on in politics, and echanging recipes as they make a drug deal. I would guess it is “here is the money”, quickly followed by “here is the drugs”. Then they both walk/drive away quickly. Wasn’t there a bust and a raid across the street recently?? I thought I read that in the crime blotter thing?


I don’t want to sound negative either. It just seems like if you call ALL the time at least the old: “squeeky whell gets the grease” would apply!


MaryMalone

Dogpound, give it a rest. Your apologista role is getting way too obvious.


Who compiles the crime blotter? Probably the same person who submitted the fraudulent crime statistics to both the state and the feds.


No one is stupid enough to trust that any data coming from a corrupt source–which Lisa Solomon has proven herself to be–would be valid.


MakersMark

See, this is typical of the rabble here – deflecting, not answering the question, making unsupported statements, etc. Pure entertainment!


MaryMalone

And you are very selective in your criticism. For those who support your opinion, you have a completely different set of standards.


http://calcoastnews.com/2012/03/crime-stats-dont-tell-real-story/comment-page-2/#comment-50525


danika

There are 2 active drug houses across the street. Which one are you referring to?


I was “squeeky” enough to get the cell phone numbers from 2 officers. Not “squeeky” enough for them to do something when I called them both numerous times.


Pizmo

Add me to the kudos you’re getting on CCN.


CalCoastOutrage

DogPound, please note she stated they NEVER responded, not “they were delayed in responding.”

That’s the problem, the police aren’t responding at all.


MaryMalone

And that’s the problem with Dogpound’s posts–it predictably misstates or outright misrepresents the truth, always to serve the best interests of a police chief who is being sued for sexual assaulting her subordinates.


Citizen

She has reported some of these drug deals in progress. It may not have been mentioned in this article, but has been mentioned in posts to CCN.


As you say, a crime in progress should have been first priority. What excuse do you give the Paso Police Department for coming? The Police Department is only a block or two from her location. Drug deals go too quickly, so there’s no use responding?


Anon E. Muss

Funny little bit of irony: Pellett Insurance Services is at 1740 Spring St. ste. D, in the same building as DK’s Donuts. Pull that up on Google Maps, and in the view from Spring Street, dated January 2011, there’s a PRPD Community Patrol car parked in the alley behind the building.


danika

Yes, the CP comes almost every day. Two elderly gentlemen who are not seen in the neighborhood without a donut in their hand.


pasoparent5

LOL danika! The elderly folks on Paso’s Community Patrol mean well but in terms of crime prevention…they’re useless.


danika

But they ARE indeed charming!


MaryMalone

Well, glad to see the police are safe and out of danger of running into the illegal activity going on in the parking lot.


MakersMark

I find it funny that nowhere in the article is any particular crime identified. It’s all couched in very vague language – “money changing hands”, “this kind of activity”, “this situation”, “things started happening”. Now I’m sure the implication is that “this activity” is supposed to be drug related, but come on, this article is so incomplete and severely lacking in the most basic reporting. And I’m not defending Solomon here whatsoever, but when a piece is so vague, all it does is come off as a hit piece. Dan, you really know better than this – perhaps not. But come on, what is “this” in the article? Seriously. Be concrete. All this article serves is to get those with an ax to grind against Solomon a platform to chime in in the comments section and pat each other on the back.


Typoqueen

hh,nwy’vdn!Yhvbrkncrdnlrlrndhr.Btht’sllIhdbttrsynlss Iwntmpststcntntb moderated.


MaryMalone

Put your feet together, darlin’. We only have one nail.


moderator

CCN has published an opinion article and we are interested in your comments about it.

We are somewhat less excited by repetitive attacks on CCN and our editorial and moderation decisions,for comments of this nature we encourage the use of Email or on your own blog.


danika

I have no ax to grind with Solomon. I simply want my staff to not feel unsafe in their working environment and the police to work to get a handle on the gang and drug activity in my parking lot. Too much to ask, apparently.


pasoparent5

danika, I’ve mentioned this before but unfortunately your business is located in the wrong place. If you were in the hallowed “downtown core” then you would be a priority. God forbid any tourists encounter gangs or drug deals. The locals, on the other hand…who cares. :(


danika

I was unaware the PRPD boundaries stretch only from 10th thru 13th streets and Park to Vine Streets. Silly me for thinking they had a duty to protect ALL of Paso Robles…


MaryMalone

The horrible reality businesses and residents have to deal with in Paso Robles is as long as the current City Council, its city manager and its police chief are running Paso Robles, the boundaries within which they provide for public safety are quite limited, as you described them.


MaryMalone

If they are sitting in the office, unless they have binoculars and/or laser-vision, it would be difficult to identify the exact thing being exchanged.


Civilians and the media are not police officers. It is not their job–nor is it safe–for them to approach what appear to be drug deals going on to identify exactly what is being exchanged for money.


That would be the job of the PRPD but–woopsy–Chief Gropinator has other priorities for her officers, which include lavish retreats and hot-tub groping sessions. Oh–and accompanying the Santa Sleigh public-relations event where, once again, Chief Gropinator gets a chance to get her face in front of a camera.


MaryMalone

What is obscene is that the Trib, which goes to great lengths to support the SLO city corporations by not covering the many corruption scandals certain corporations have been in, does nothing to support smaller businesses in Paso Robles.


I think it becomes more and more clear that the Trib is a mouthpiece for certain city corporations. Even its claims of being business friendly are lies because they ignore the plight of the smaller businesses throughout the county.


Crusader

It’s OK. I missed my turn onto Granada last week and had to take a short cut through the Tribune’s parking lot. This was last Thursday around 3:00pm. The parking lot could not have been more than 10% full. It truly has become a worthless rag.


MaryMalone

QUOTING ARTICLE:

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.”


The only “damage control” they are doing is to:

–Submit fraudulent crime statistics to state and federal agencies;

–To issue public statements ad nauseum about how, under the “leadership” of Chief “Gropinator” Solomon crime rates have decreased, and;

–To engage in taxpayer-funded orchestrations at city council meetings to intimidate and suppress citizen statements of outrage and demands for change.


They are doing absolutely NOTHING to change Chief Gropinator’s failed policies which have created this increasingly dangerous situation of unchecked crime in Paso Robles.


The city council is absolutely worthless because their only priority is to support the FAIL policies of Chief Gropinator, fraudulently use FEMA funds to lubricate the FEMA-paid contracts for city projects being awarded to corrupt cronies, and continually increase the liability exposure of the city–which is something the taxpayers will pay for.


The city council, who allows this unchecked crime to occur near places of business, are NOT supportive of Paso’s business community. The city council is actively using its power to ensure that Paso’s businesses have to operate in high-crime areas, that the businesses’ reputations are damaged, that the businesses lose customers for fear of personal safety, and that businesses have to spend more money and expend far more other resources to attract new customers.


The City of Paso Robles should be put under State control until a new city council–elected under State-monitored elections–can be elected. The new city council can, under State supervision, get a new city manager and–if a PR police department is to continue to operate–hire a new police chief.


This is an issue of public safety and failed leadership. The State must step in to take control.


IronHub

It is the people of Paso Robles who can, and who must, correct the situation.


MaryMalone

The people of Paso Robles do not have the power the state has.


The “leadership” of PR has so damaged Paso Robles, and the corruption has become so institutionalized, that it will take the State, at the very least, to deal with it.


And, as they saw in the City of Bell, when such vast corruption is going on, the quickest, easiest way to get the corrupt officials out of their position is to arrest them for their crimes.