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Growth Impacts on Public Safety

Growth increases service call volume at a faster rate than the population grows. With rare exception, new development does not generate enough revenue to offset additional services required. Without this offset, new costs will be born by the public or services will be reduced.

Calaveras County Sheriff Deputies are spread too thin and average response times are too high. There is no time for proactive community policing and prevention. As of May 2008, eight positions needed to be added. The lack of adequate staffing can put the County, its deputies, and its citizens at risk.

The Board of Supervisors has the final say with respect to the many issues that determine the impact of development (zoning, phasing, fees, tax rates, timing, contributions, entitlements, density, etc.).  Equitable solutions to public safety impacts depend on the Board’s actions.

May 2008 - Calaveras Sheriff's Staffing Study presented to Board of Supervisors

The Calaveras County ‘Sheriff's Staffing Study and Strategic Plan December 2007’ was presented to the Supervisors and the public on May 13, 2008.  Some excerpts follow:

“The employee-to-calls-for-service ratios are:

Calaveras County Sheriff's Department........1: 643
Amador County Sheriffs Department.........1: 366
Tuolumne County Sheriffs Department.......1: 276

What this illustrates is that the men and women in the Calaveras County Sheriffs Department are handling significantly more calls than their counterparts in the Tuolumne and Amador County Sheriffs Department." (page 8-9)

“It is important to note that the ratio has moved up significantly from the 560 calls per 1,000 range in 2002 to 810 per 1,000 range in 2006. This indicates that as the county's population increased, the calls for service to the Sheriffs Department are increasing at a faster pace. This is typical of urban growth - calls for law enforcement services increase at a faster rate than does the population growth.” (page 65)

“With rare exception, new development does not generate enough revenues to offset the services required of the Sheriffs Department; therefore, then these costs must be borne by the general public.” (page 66)

“ subdivisions usually require more law enforcement sheriff services than do mature neighborhoods. New people, new laws, new circumstances and new problems associated with a new subdivision all contribute to an accelerated level of calls for service. The market that developers in Calaveras County focus on, the Baby Boomers, are used to, and expect, a fast police response. They are much more likely to call 911 or dispatch than the current Calaveras County resident.” (page 67)

“If everybody's cost of law enforcement services goes up because of the impact of a
new development, then the developer gained at the citizenry's loss...

“If the developer isn't willing to pay for this clear and immediate impact, then Calaveras County has but two options - either it finds the money elsewhere in the budget, including raising taxes; or, it reduces policing enforcement services across the community.

Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors ends up as the referee in the revenue vs. cost argument between the developer and the County's service delivery departments. With the Board of Supervisors having the final say with respect to the many issues that determine the impact of development (zoning, phasing, fees, tax rates, timing, contributions, entitlements, density, etc.), the outcome is dependent on the Board's actions.” (page 69)

“Like it or not, urbanization is a force that is changing the way the CCSD conducts its business.” (Page 75)

The ‘Sheriff’s Staffing Study & Strategic Plan’ is available on the Sheriff Department Links page (Other Links): Click Here

Population Density and Crime
It's not just population growth that drives crime, it's the DENSITY of the population that increases the crime RATE. Urban areas have much higher crime rates: 5-8 times more robberies, 1-1/2 to 2 times more homicides.
--Jeff Tuttle, D. A. (3/13/06, General Plan Study Session)

Calaveras County Grand Jury Reports & Responses
Read 1999-2008 Calaveras County Grand Jury Reports and Responses, posted on the County website. Public Safety issues are addressed in chapters about fire protection districts, wastewater service districts, and the county jail. To read Grand Jury reports: Click Here

Editorial: ‘Aging, Inadequate jail puts county’s citizens at risk’


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