Redding’s Increase in Crime, Transients, Street People, the Homeless; Something’s Got to Give

My personal wake-up call that Redding was potentially unsafe happened two-and-a-half years ago when someone hurled a cinder block through the window of my locked Prius to steal my purse.

When I wrote about it, the story had 50 comments from many of you expressing your frustration, or sharing similar stories. (You can read it here.)

I remember how shaken and angry I felt driving home that cold December morning in a car with a missing window – purseless – with a passenger’s seat full of glass. I took the crime personally as I looked with new, pissed-off eyes at the scruffy folks who hang out near my neighborhood Safeway (dubbed the “un-Safeway” more and more in my neighborhood.) I looked at them holding signs, or pushing towering shopping carts, or picking through garbage.

Was it you? Was it you, or you or you? What did I ever do to you to deserve this?

Coincidentally, that evening was a meet-and-greet of Robert Paoletti, Redding’s then-new police chief. I parked on Placer Street that night and felt extra vulnerable leaving my car there with a missing window.  For the first time, I didn’t bother locking my car.

When I met Paoletti, after some chitchat, I mentioned that morning’s ordeal. He was sympathetic, but gave a mini lecture about the dangers of leaving anything of value in a vehicle, locked or not.

That was December of 2011. I feel even less safe today than I did then.

On Facebook I frequently read first-hand crime-victim stories, mainly thefts and break-ins, like from Angela Lancaster, who owns the Gold Street Cafe. She shared a photo of the front door of her business, broken into last week.

Somebody broke into the Gold Street Cafe last week.

That was a bad day for Gold Street businesses, because that same morning Gold Street Liquors was held up at knife-point.

Not far away, at at the Oregon Street Antique Mall, where my sister and I have a little booth, along with dozens of others, someone recently shattered the front door’s glass, crawled through the opening, went directly to a locked case that contained valuable coins and other objects, smashed it, grabbed the contents and ran. Yes, the store has cameras everywhere. The thief wore a mask.

I also hear crime stories from friends and acquaintances, such as a from my friend whose mother’s Athens Avenue home was recently entered by a thief via a 10-inch bathroom window, one of those tiny windows that are so high off the ground that you feel OK leaving it open, because it’s unfathomable that anyone could reach it, let alone fit through it.

Welcome to crime in Redding, where the previously unfathomable has become fathomable.

My friend’s mother had lived in that home for 56 years without any trouble. She lost many valuables, including cherished family heirlooms, like her grandmother’s necklace. Most of all, she’s lost her sense of security and peace of mind.

I hear crime stories via A News Cafe.com’s daily incoming law enforcement press releases, so many that we don’t publish them all, lest the entire home page be a sea of crime news. How depressing would that be?

I hear crime stories from Crime Watch, a Redding-area business network that emails crime information to the group, primarily along the Hilltop area, but also into downtown Redding. Crime Watch tells about the crimes, but also shares tips and alerts. I’m constantly struck by how many of these never appear on press releases. This is a sample:

Sounds like a broken record but the guy with the knife and Fedora was back … didn’t show the knife this time. Left heading down Hilltop toward Cypress…

…We had three trucks hit last night. This time they took a drill to the tanks on two trucks. We also had to call the fire department due to the amount of gas on parking lot. Still haven’t heard any info from the last time that we filed a report with RPD with the plate number. This is the second time this week.

… The tweakers were thick yesterday on the west side. I saw 4 males that were tweaking HARD! I originally started capturing surveillance of a person that was tweaking hard after we found damage to an interior door. I was happy to find that RPD had visited and arrested the subject.  Thank you RPD and to the customer that called them!…

…We had a couple of male dirtbags park in our lot on Sunday and used our faucet to wash out their crack pipe. We searched the store for anyone who might be with the two and located a female with a armload of merchandise. The Jeep Patriot (blue) pulled up to the front door and one of the occupants opened the rear drivers side door. We closed the front door and when the female approached the front counter our employee politely helped her put the merchandise on the checkout counter and she bolted out the door …

… Just removed a young female from property who was seen smoking “meth” with a young male in our parking lot. She left without a problem. Male had left before I got to there. They are getting brave doing this in broad daylight out in the open…

…I just heard that the cell phone store was robbed at knife point on Saturday. I do not think anyone posted in on the Crime Watch…

 … Black female about 5’4″ 140lbs with a black shirt, jeans and furry boots carrying bags with sleeping bags. She walked into the restaurant and sat on the couch in the front. When asked to leave she kept saying, you, you, you and you’re going to get what is coming to you. When asked to leave again she got up and said you’re going to get what’s coming to you and as she walked out said you better take care of that couch and laughed. She had peed on the couch…

Finally, I hear crime stories via my Garden Tract Neighborhood Watch emails, where we learn about things like bikes stolen from yards – even at lunch time – break-ins of cars, garages and even homes, and gas being siphoned from vehicles parked curbside or in driveways.

A few days ago a Neighborhood Watch email reported the fence between two vacant houses across the street from me had been destroyed, and one house was broken into, but the alarm scared off the intruders. It appear as if the other vacant home may have had vagrants squatting in it, though the Guam-residing owner claims that’s not true. Whatever.

The very next night my sister and I confronted a twitchy young couple across the street from my house, heading on their bikes to the back yard of the very home that had been broken into just 24 hours earlier. She was super skinny and sported an electronic ankle bracelet. He took off so fast on his bike that all we could see was some kind of tool – tire iron? – across his handlebars. When they split in two directions, one neighbor gave chase in his truck after the guy, but returned to say that the bike rider was swallowed up in a group of guys who looked just like him near R&R Meats.

We’d called 911, and a police car cruised by a little while later.

When I wrote about my neighborhood encounter on Facebook, there were 69 comments, sometimes hundreds of words long. Overall, so many of us feel the same: compassionate about down-and-out human beings, but frustrated at being victimized and weary at feeling so fearful.

Here’s a sample of some Facebook excerpts:

... I drive to work at 4:30 AM every morning. And every morning the streets thru town are heavy with people wandering. I’ll bet that any given morning I could count 30 people walking the streets. I drive north on 273 thru town on Market…

… Few times I’ve rolled back into Redding late/early the wild ones are out. 3 a.m. one time 20 were just walking south of Safeway. My guess is sleep thru heat then scavenge in cool darkness…

…Is it only Redding and Chico or is it everywhere? We need to come up with a different name for transients and homeless. Most of them prefer their living situations and don’t want to change, as for transients, they’re not transients anymore, they’re here to stay…

…Pray for them. Each of them lives their own unique circumstance…

… I travel and this is everywhere now. Once we acknowledge that maybe we can start t work as a nation to solve this. I am careful to not lump all these criminals into the homeless category as that word is quickly becoming a “race” of people displaced from permanent shelter. My reasoning is that in past as wrong as it was you could make a generalization about a race. Now if you dress too casual or go out after working in the yard you could look like a homeless person and hence be treated like one. Has happened a few times to me. Not nice feeling to be spoke down to or singled out, especially by store security or police…

… What is homeless? I look at the folks that live permanently in the hotels. That is homeless to me. I have given all my extra sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and a nice comfy sleeping pad to the homeless. I’m confused on who needs help, who uses us and who robs us…

… Nothing works except facing the real issues head on… poverty and drug addiction… It’s worth our tax dollars to tackle these issues head on and if we don’t …none of us deserve to feel “safe”…I think the real question is if these people were given shelter, rehabilitation, etc … How would they contribute positively rather than take away from the city…

Here at A News Cafe.com, we’ve reported extensively on the issue of the unsheltered homeless. If I live to be 200 I will never forget the sight of the homeless encampments and the people who live there. I’m haunted especially by the young people I saw there, kids who should be in college or working at Starbucks or learning a trade.

We introduced you to Sam Allen, the owner of CAROUSEL, who tried to run a business with street people doing drug deals out front.

And we’ve written about programs that are trying to help, such as Living Hope Compassion Ministries.

I’ve lived in Redding since I was 5. I know this place well. I’m not saying Redding is all bad. I am well aware of the good parts, of which there are plenty.

But I can no longer turn a blind eye to the blatant crimes happening in our city, nor the masses of clearly down-and-out men, women and even children subsisting among us.

I can no longer ignore the increasing numbers of people sleeping openly in the middle of the day with their possessions on park lawns where no sane person would dare bring little kids.

I am no longer OK with the fact that even though I live in the Garden Tract, one of Redding’s most charming, walkable neighborhoods, it would be foolhardy to walk at night to a downtown restaurant or Cascade performance, with or without a male companion.

I’m tired of hearing and reading about bad stuff happening to good people. I’m tired of living in a state of mind where I sleep an arm’s-reach from pepper spray and wasp spray in an alarmed house.

But I’m also distressed and humbled to remind myself that those “wild” people who wander our streets and seek opportunity or shelter – legally or illegally – even the “tweakers” and drunks – are fellow human beings, someone’s son or daughter. Obviously, they are in desperate need of help.

A friend shared a quote a while back, something to the effect of: We don’t have just a homeless issue, we have mental health issues, and addiction issues and poverty issues and employment issues.

That sounds about right to me.

We can do nothing, watch things get worse and feel more helpless.

Or we can brainstorm and find some creative solutions that extend far beyond Band-Aid ideas like soup kitchens, and homeless tent cities and daycare centers, because none of those get to the root of the problem.

Who knows, maybe we can put Redding on the map as the city that got this one right.

I have some ideas, which I’ve shared before. (Click here to read one: Good Works.)

Your turn.

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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154 Responses

  1. david kerr says:

    Meth is cheap and abundant, so users choose Redding instead of Chico or Yuba.

    • David, is meth cheaper here? And here’s something I’ve wondered: How much does meth cost, and how much on average, does a meth-user “need” each day? Just curious.

      • david kerr says:

        On KCNR and KQMS, Chief Paoleti has said that meth (and oxycontin, heroin, crack, etc) prices are much lower than they once were. One problem with the financially troubled newspaper is that they depend on government employees and retirees for their subscriber base, and thus their remedy is to raise taxes and give raises to the chief, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, etc.

        Why did organized crime decide that flooding Redding with meth is a good idea?

        • rob says:

          Because the local police are busy justifying their existence and chasing funding by busting pot people. There is ZERO federal dollars in Meth so they dont address it. Tie some federal funding to it and then their jobs depend on it they will do it.

  2. Randall R. Smith says:

    Vote “yes” on Measure B in November. Our city needs more law enforcement and more funding to do the job. Saving Turtle Bay is a way of getting extra revenue by asking for help from outsiders for this problem coming many times from non resident thugs.

    Tell and act the truth. These are real stories of a society facing anarchy. Using words which express sympathy does nothing to enlighten the conversation about how to save our community. Part of the problem is lack of understanding about the word “responsibility”. “Rights” is all we have heard for half a century and the turkeys have come home to roost.

    Stop enabling people who are criminal, at the very least, doing nothing to give anything but trouble to our society. Stop giving them money, clothing, sleeping bags, other items which others must collect when they are discarded in our precious public places by the ton each week.

    Join and support neighborhood watch and protection programs. Report what you see and hear. Passivity in the face of this assault is joining the monsters by providing them sanctuary. Of course, they are human. That is why they are so willful and clever. But they are either using drugs including alcohol or they are not taking medicines which would help them or they are deliberately evil because of programming we can not undo. We must be honest about this recognition and forceful in combating it to save our homes and society. Lawlessness is the ruin of liberty.

    Keep telling the story without any need for exaggeration. Things are plenty bad and getting worse. Playing ostrich won’t work. Never was being part of solution more important. Those who pretend the issues are too daunting are dooming us to failure.
    Get off the couch and do something to help, even if its litter abatement and graffiti removal. Take back our town!

    • Randy, those who don’t know you as well as I do might not realize that you have for many years literally worked in the trenches to beautify and maintain our open spaces, waterways and river banks. You and your helpers, along with RPD, have hauled out tons of trash and human waste, that often returns not long after the clean-up, so I get where you’re coming from. I like your suggestion for everyone to do something. And you are right. We need to take back our town. Thank you for your efforts to make that happen.

    • JAREK TIMLIN says:

      your spot on thanks for helping to educate

    • Michael Frost says:

      Thank you for the hard work and example, Randy.

  3. Barb says:

    Here is the issue from my perspective. We own undeveloped commercial land. I am the policeman at our company. I go run off folks who camp there. We have followed the law, paid to have signs made that say no trespassing, parking or camping. We have filed notices with the city authorizing them to enforce those as well. Still I go up there daily and am aggressively told they don’t have to leave, because the cops have been up there, talk to them and leave. Elaborate campsites, dumping and fires happen overnight. The last time, they got in their car and followed me, furious because i wrote down their license plates. Followed me to my office and screamed and cursed at me for invading their space and harrasing them. When I nicely asked them to move on, that it was private property and they could not stay there. I called the cops, concerned about my safety, and when the officer called me back he spent 15 minutes telling me how frustrated they were, how aggressive the people are and how their hands are tied. All they can do is write a ticket. If they take them in, they get released. And they know it. They are in control. They manage the atmosphere and according to my friend the policeman know they can do what they want. This area is not downtown but in enterprise on Hartnell. He also told me that if I travel down Bechelli to South Bonneyview there is a small city of transients off the road that have built an infrastructure. Doni, I work in service of the mission several times a month. These are NOT the people who seek help at the mission. These are people in a lifestyle. They don’t want help. They are angry and entitled and believe they can steal, camp, park and do whatever they want. And we all can pay for it. Its a culture issue. A mental health issue. A law enforcement issue. It is no longer social services issue…..Just my 2 cents :0 – on the frontlines here.

  4. Lisa Allpress says:

    I stood on a dirt access road between my rental and a neighbors rental yesterday while doing some yard clean-up and asked three different people to walk around instead of through the property. A young woman did walk around after grumbling, but the men; one younger and one older, had a few choice words for me. The area is posted as private property and clearly marked with no trespassing signs. In the last 2 years we have had to add security fencing and security lights to my house and our neighbor has been forced build a blockade in front of a drive on his property and hire security guards to patrol. The lack of respect is astounding while the sadness of the people is overwhelming. I am 5th generation Shasta County, love my town and never thought I would feel nervous or afraid to walk anywhere here.

    • Lisa, I can’t tell you often lately I’ve heard people who’ve lived here for many years, sometimes their entire lives, talk of moving. I have a friend who’s left Redding who’s imploring me to leave, too. The thought that you, a 5th generation Shasta County person, would considering leaving, is unacceptable. I’d rather you and I stayed, and we found ways to make the trouble-makers either go or clean up their act. Be safe on your walks (see today’s press release).

  5. name says:

    go purchase a gun…

  6. Ginny says:

    A number of years ago, Doni, you wrote about a young couple coming from Florida to Redding. She was pregnant. They weren’t married. They used drugs. They came across the Country to Redding because of word of mouth said how much Redding gives the “homeless”. If I remember correctly, the couple was kicked out of Good News Rescue Mission. Kicked out, I am sure for drug use.

    If we stop making it comfortable for these sad human beings with money, shelter, welfare, etc. then many would move on. In 1970 when drugs were not so prevalent and drug users were shunned, I volunteered at a drug rehab for nearly a year. It was a live-in facility run by rehabilitated drug addicts. The “cure” rate was 5% then. It still is, but drug use is more accepted today. Legal this and then legal that.

    When one of the rehab directors spoke to me the morning after I had major surgery, I said to forgive me as I was a little woosey from drugs and I didn’t like being totally in control. He told me that is what “they”, the addict liked. They didn’t want to be aware!

    Many of the people received CA State Welfare. Marvelous, we get to help support their habit of homelessness, drug addiction, and mental problems which many problems is caused from their addiction.

    The police need help. Courts need laws to be passed. Stop welfare. Stop their little cities.

    Do the people — who think they are helping the homeless — really believe they can change the 95%? It isn’t helping make anything better to make the drugs legal, as if that were really going to help the situation? If they do, I have a bridge to sell them!

    • I don’t know if that couple is the one I wrote about when I worked on a series at the RS, but there was a memorable family of a mom, dad and three kids, who “camped” in their car. The kids went to school, miraculously. When I wrote about it, readers reached out and helped, found a rental, gave clothes, food, money, everything, to this family. My family and I made the delivery on Christmas Eve. Both parents were drunk, the mom announced she was pregnant again, and they were selling off their new stuff. Obviously, just giving stuff, to people who have no clue how to manage their lives, is not the answer. One thing about the topic of money, Ginny, I know that many of the people I interviewed for the homeless series are on disability and receive roughly $750 each month. It wasn’t enough to rent a place (and who’d rent to them, anyway?), so they’d spent it on motels for a few nights, and load up on food and supplies, and yes, drugs and alcohol. By the end of the month the money would run out, which is why, at the end of the month Living Hope Compassion Ministries and the Good News Rescue Mission can see doubling, and even tripling of the people to whom they’re serving meals. What if the money for people living on the streets was not given to them directly, but held back, and used for a rehab facility, training facility, transitional housing facility? It would offer food and shelter. Just a thought.

      • PB says:

        Thanks for the stereotypes, Doni.

        As someone who worked with the poor and homeless in the Redding area for more than 20 years, I can guarantee that most families who find themselves in desperate straits do NOT fit the stereotype above, and are most appreciative of whatever help they receive.

        • And your solution is? …

          • PB says:

            I would first try to determine how many more AB 109er’s are being located to the area beyond Shasta County’s “share”. By all accounts I’ve heard, that number could be considerable. Apparently not counted are those who are housed in “temporary” facilities (in places where they are allowed to stay for up to two years, and are then transferred to other “temporary” living arrangements).

            I don’t have the resources or the clout to investigate this situation further (especially since I am currently long distance). However, the media might. If you would care to email me, I’d be happy to provide you with whatever information on that subject I’ve been able to garner.

            The revolving door at the jail is a huge problem, but Shasta County’s new second jail going up on Breslauer Way will hopefully address that situation to a notable extent.

            I would also love to see a more adequate supply of facilities and services for the homeless (as compared to other cities). The City of Redding can’t do much about the number of people living on the streets as long as there is no alternative for roughly 90 percent of them. However, if those numbers could be brought down, those who don’t want to take advantage of the help that is then available would be easier to deal with. One caveat though – I believe these need to be secular facilities. No one should be forced to profess a particular religious belief as a condition of receiving help.

            Other cities have managed to do so much more, and Redding can too. All that’s needed is to get the Redding City Council’s impossible requirements for new facilities out of the way, and to overcome the community’s hostility toward the poor and homeless.

            I’m also not at all opposed to Neighborhood Watch groups. In fact, I started one of the earliest NW groups in Redding. However, I believe that all the mass hysteria the media has been fanning lately directed at anyone whose appearance, manner of dress, economic status, etc. seems suspect (particularly the “homeless”) is a recipe for disaster. Violence against the homeless has been rampant all around the country over the past 20 years. Redding has had more than its share of homeless people (who were not engaging in any criminal activity) killed and maimed by these attacks. Lets not encourage more by writing articles titled “Increase in Crime, Transients, Street People, the Homeless”. Identify the criminals (the words “homeless” and “criminal” are not necessarily synonymous, as your title implies).

        • LH says:

          I grew up in Redding and am now a police officer in another city. I deal with and talk to homeless people daily and PB’s comment about violence against the homeless is misleading. Fact is the vast majority of violence against homeless is done by other homeless people. The way you wrote it implies the violence is biased based by non homeless groups. Not true at all.

      • Ginny says:

        The point with the young couple from FL was that many are flocking to Redding for all the free stuff. When I was a kid, the tramps off the trains, a block from our house, would come buy. My mother would feed them, then all of a sudden there would be more and more. She found that the first one put the word out “free food”. She, in the end, had to stop giving all who came, food.

        I don’t know what the answer is. I wish I did. I tried to help one man who had been living in a camp with his woman friend for years. Between them they could have rented an apartment (He and she didn’t look scruff.), but they didn’t. They prefered to live the way they did. I know from the conversations we had. He didn’t want a job. He was not using drugs. But, he was using society. This happened when I met the man through church on Sundays.

        As stated I volunteered at a drug rehab before people thought it was the thing to do. At least, I tried…… The few I did help there wouldn’t tell others in the facility where I lived or what I had in my home. They they told me others would steal from me and my family! Some can be helped, but the majority can not because they don’t want to be helped to improve their situation.

        Oh, yes, it was the R/S article a few years back. Also read your article at aNewsCafe on the ones again. The woman who came off the streets and ended back again, because that is what she wanted.

        All well written………………

        • PB says:

          Ginny,

          Redding has far FEWER facilities and services for the homeless than any other city of any size in the entire state. The residents of EVERY city believe they have too many services that are attracting the homeless. However, in most of those cities that is far more true than it is here.

          And if you will kindly read my comment below about the “couple” from Florida, you’ll discover that the situation in that case was grossly misrepresented. However, that story certainly helped to bolster public sentiment in favor of an anti-homeless ordinance the City of Redding was preparing to implement at the time.

          • PC says:

            Again, what was the name of the hurricane that blew this poor soul all the way to Redding from Florida? Hurricanes all have names and that must have been a big one!

  7. … Just another day with press releases. This just in:

    On Sunday July 6, 2014 at approximately 10:16 PM, Officers from the Redding Police Department responded to 3140 C Street for a report of a stabbing. On arrival, Officers contacted the victim, 48 years of Redding. She told officers she was outside her apartment walking her dog when an unknown male subject approached her from behind and stabbed her one time in her upper chest area.

    Immediately after stabbing the victim the suspect fled the area in an unknown direction. An extensive search of the area was conducted by members of the Redding Police Department, Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and the CHP helicopter, with negative results.

    The suspect was described as either a white or Hispanic male, approximately 40 years old, 6’ tall, with an average build and short dark hair. The knife was recovered and the victim’s injuries were determined to be non-life threatening.

    Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect is encouraged to phone the Redding Police Department, Investigations Division at (530) 225-4214.

  8. Carla Clark says:

    I think this issue is everywhere, not just Redding. The comment is often made that we need more mental health or substance abuse treatment, but I don’t think these systems really handle what the issue is – a group of people who are permanent outlaws – aggressive, violent and feral. This is second or third generation meth culture.

  9. ErleeDawn says:

    Thank you for your words. I watch my husband go to work, and I wonder for the first time in our 24 years of marriage if I will get a call that he has been injured or killed.He has been with RPD since 1987 and we were married in 1990. In that time I always knew the dangers of being married to a police officer. He was on the SWAT team too which still, I knew there was still a chance of danger, but again today, I am more afraid than ever. There are so few police on the streets, more calls than they can handle, jails are filled and wont keep those who are in, in. Car thieves know there is no punishment for their crime and will continue to steal. The drugs in this town are unbelievable. I watched 5 teenagers at a gas station with dreads in their hair, gas can in hand, and a sign that said “Our Van doesnt fill up on love”. I knew they were high due to the pot odor and I would watch them go to each car asking for gas. As I watched this one girl talk to this man, she had a different story to tell about her circumstance than the last poor victim she asked. It was all a scam. These were kids who scammed for a living now. Living life “free” as they said. I wanted to fill their tank just to get them back on the highway and out of Redding. But a couple days later, I saw them again.Scamming more Redding residents. I have also lived here since I was 5 years old, and I want to move more than ever. I am saddened beyond belief that Redding has the reputation it does and it seems no one will do anything about it.As my husband leaves early for work today due to the shooting this past weekend, I hold my breath and pray that he stays safe. I pray that my children will never have to encounter what some law enforcement families have . I hear more stories from my husband, news, papers, and Facebook, and I just shudder. Retirement is none to soon and I fear we will leave this city I had grown up in without ever looking back.

    • I cannot imagine having a loved one in law enforcement in this town. I thank your husband for his service, and pray for his safety. Your story about the scamming kids is not an uncommon scene any longer. Thank you for sharing.

      • rob says:

        I wouldn’t worry about RPD…they actually have a higher rate of killing people(defending themselves they call it) then big cities under massive federal investigation. Redding is 1/10 the size of Albuquerque NM and they are under investigation for 26 deaths in 3 years. That would put Redding at about 3 in that same timeframe..i can think of 3 in the last 3 months..Think its bad now, after another person died the other day they are a breath away from a massive lawsuit reducing funding again. The city has a massive crime problem, but no one seems to want to address who’s job that is and why thats failing so bad.

  10. mimi moseley says:

    Thank you, Doni, for this great post. As a board member of the Downtown Redding Business Association, we are searching for viable solutions as well. If we don’t come up with something soon, our usually calm law abiding folks may begin to lean toward vigalante measures. Not the best solution.
    Recently, a board member mentioned the need to stop pointing the finger at the police or City Council, but to widen the “call to action” net to the County Board of Supervisors and other state elected officials. I am not sure of how to move forward, but I do know…
    We are REDDING and these creepers do NOT own us or our town. I don’t know the answer, but I WANT to be a part of the answer. Keep doing what you are doing and keep us in the know. We are a mighty army and just need a leader and direction and we will respond.

    • Mimi, you hit the nail on the head about the need for solutions before law-abiding citizens take matters into their own hands. You know A News Cafe.com will report on anything you can give us in terms of updates by your group. Keep us posted.

  11. Grammy says:

    I feel very blessed in this life. I have two kids that are gainfully employed that can afford their own homes and have never tried drugs (been working in jobs that drug test). Thanksgiving we all sat down to dinner with about 18 people. All were asked what they were thankful for. I said that I was thankful that everyone I know has a roof over their heads with food in their home. What could anyone say after that. Blessed
    Now even the safe Safeway is dangerous. Last week was there and people were cruising the parking lot asking for money. Often times there they are on scooters.
    The police are so busy here in Shasta County with trying to find pot groves that nothing else matter all that much. All day long we can hear (out in the country) helicopters flying over head looking for pot plants. It is harvest season.
    I do not know if Shasta County gets special funds for finding the groves, if not that money could be used so much wiser in dealing with crimes against persons. Even more helpful if the population that causes it was kept in prison instead of releasesd within hours.

    • Bruce B says:

      I find it very doubtful the helicopters are flying overhead all day looking for pot plants. Usually it a couple of hours every other week at most then tons of research before they develop enough information for a search warrant. Most of the marijuana team now are retired law enforcement and not current active duty law enforcement who would be out in patrol cars.

      Besides AB-109 our problem is funding cuts by the County to support the jail staff, build larger or more jail type housing facilities and the City by cutting most all the Community Service Officers and many police officers. The officers don’t patrol any longer, just go call to call usually running four to six hours after the calls come in. The police union made it very clear to the Redding City Council this would happen as we knew we were always on the edge of losing what little control we had prior to all the cutbacks. What we warned is happening.

      • Grammy says:

        Come to PLacer Road out in the country and sit there for four hours. I guarantee you will hear low flying helicopters.

        • Chris K. says:

          I have lived on Placer about 8 miles west of town for over 13 years now.
          I am about 90% retired, so I spend a lot of time around the house.

          I would say on average, I hear around 2 to 3 helicopters fly overhead each month.

      • rob says:

        EXACTLY!!!! Thats the problem, the cops would rather bust easy, stoner, pothead and waste fuel flying helicopters around all day with their friends then do street work. They do that because the federal funding justifies their existence.

        The anti-MMJ aspect of LEO here is amazing. The two should be direct allies and they have made it so contentious and costly its impacting other areas. I also live off of placer and hear helicopters, usually lower then FAA guidelines btw, constantly…

  12. Leslie says:

    I grew up in Cottonwood in the 60’s and 70’s, then moved away to St. Louis for a job. There, my first time in a “big city” I remember mowing the front yard of my house and my mower hitting syringes and discarded condoms. That’s how I finally realized I wasn’t living in a little town anymore . . .

    I returned to Redding to live in 1997. I purchased a house across from a park in a nice neighborhood on top of Hilltop Drive. I felt so relieved to be out of the big city. In the past five years, though, I have gradually realized that the Redding I returned to has now dramatically changed. The beautiful park across my street is now a drug exchange marketplace. At first, I regularly called police to report drug exchanges and the same vehicles with the same creepy individuals. I had expectations that would make a difference, but it didn’t. Police would show up late, or when I called yet again, they would expect me to confront them, which I won’t do.

    I was mowing my lawn this summer and found a syringe and discarded condom on my corner lot lawn. I flashed back to my days in St. Louis and realized the big city had caught up to me here. In the past six months, the house I had lived in crime-incident free for 15 years felt no longer safe as our locked cars were broken into twice and radios inside them were ripped out. (There were no other valuables in the cars).

    I am hoping the “sleeping giant,” the average citizen, will wake up to take back our city. I now pick up litter regularly while out walking my dog, I think that helps. I carry “Halt” spray with me and my metal cane for emergencies as I walk. When I see families and groups lawfully using the park, I thank them and make them feel welcome, because the drug dealers don’t hang out there then. I have decided to try and organize an online neighborhood watch program. I meet the eyes of the creeps on street corners with confidence (as long as it’s daylight) so they realize I am watching them, and I will not ignore illegal activity. I added solar-powered lighting to the front and sides of my house that is triggered by motion detectors. I have stopped calling the police so much because it’s discouraging. But I do still believe the average citizen can do a lot to stem the tide of what we are experiencing.

  13. JohnN says:

    We were warned about this about a number of years ago by Redding Chief of Police, Bob Blankenship.

    “In 1988, Redding had a population of nearly 57,000 residents, and 82 sworn police officers served the community. By the end of 2010, if reductions continue as planned, the number of sworn officer providing service to the almost 92,000 residents will be 94.”

    The last decade has seen a reduction in services as well as in law enforcement. We need to start restoring all these things if hope to see an improvement.

  14. Jillian says:

    Anyone living off Shasta View in Hacienda Heights, we’ve made a Hacienda Heights Neighborhood Watch page. Join it, post and concerns, bring up suspicious activities you’re noticing, and band together to help make our neighborhood a safer place.

  15. Jillian says:

    ^On Facebook!^

  16. Shelly Shively says:

    Jobs. America needs blue collar , skilled & vocationally trained jobs. There was a time in this country in which a high school graduate could make a living wage at a factory or mill, manufacturing cars, clothing, lumber, furniture, electronics, etc. In the past few decades, these opportunities have been lost to overseas outsourcing. “Made In China” is on the majority of goods sold in America. If I were Queen for a year, I would direct my attention to the corporations that outsource overseas to places like China, India & Bangladesh. I would ban outsourcing, & heavily incentivize corporations that build their own manufacturing plants. Each city that is demographically large enough to sustain big box stores like Walmart, Target, Costco, would have manufacturing facilities. This could also apply to creative manufacturing, utilizing recycled materials, agriculture & farming, as well as computer training & data entry.
    I could foresee affordable housing built for, & by those needing jobs, as well as day care for single parents, with educated child development facilities & training.
    I know, prices for goods would be higher than we’re accustomed, but it would be a worthy price tag for helping get our country back on its feet.
    This could at least address the basic issue of lack of opportunity, & its by-product of poverty, homelessness, crime & substance abuse.
    So many other issues to address, such as mental illness & drug/alcohol abuse, but for starters, build opportunities in which citizens can be proud of a job well done, & a wage that doesn’t require government supplement.
    For those not interested in learning a skill or a job, & continue to tramp on others personal freedoms….well, there would be incarceration in a place that would also be productive for their pent-up energies. They would emerge with skill sets that would offer them as viable members of society, instead of a menacing liability.
    Thanks, Doni, for opening up this dialogue, with the challenge of us coming up with realistic answers to troubling questions.

    • Damon Miller says:

      OTM. People don’t really CHOOSE to live this way; they do it when they don’t have other options.

      • Valerie Ing says:

        I think some people don’t have other options, but I think there are a lot of people who absolutely DO choose to live this way. And I believe while some choose to live this way because they have mental health issues, some choose to live this way because it’s a way to fly under the radar with the smallest chance of having to be responsible, pay taxes, contribute to society and be a part of the system they don’t want to be a part of. Why buy a car if you can just take one? Why rent an apartment when you can just squat in one? Why get a job to buy groceries or other basic necessities if you can either rip them off the shelves, beg on a streetcorner for the cash, or get social service agencies to support you? For some this is the easiest way, especially since this particular segment of society is overloading law enforcement to the point where there is little, if ANY penalty for stealing cars, breaking into homes or stealing from other people?

        • Damon Miller says:

          I think it easier for people to paint these people in the worst light possible because then we don’t have to confront harsh truths about injustice and inequity in our society. I’ve seen how difficult it is to get a good job in Redding and I have a college degree. I can’t imagine what it must be like with less skills. I’m grateful I have a familial safety net or I could have ended up on the street, too. The system makes it darned easy to slip down, but not too easy to pick yourself up. It’s very easy to deal judgement if you grew up in a time of prosperity like the 50s or 60s and have been able to stash away a nest egg, but unless you are a young person today, you have NO idea what it is like out there.

          • Valerie Ing says:

            Damon, I don’t agree with everything you’re saying, but I agree that it’s hard to find a way to make an honest living today. That’s why we as a nation need to be more engaged in the process of educating our children, encouraging them to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, and its why we should be doing everything we can to discourage corporations from sending entry level jobs to third world countries.

      • Bruce B says:

        Damon,

        I don’t agree with you regarding people don’t choose to live this way. Many times I have walked the river with police, social workers, and others offering assistance, motel coupons, etc. I can’t tell you how many times were were asked to “leave me alone” as they don’t want assistance. Many told us they chose to live this way, no stress, no bills to pay, free food between the Mission and church groups and a lady who feeds near the park, etc. Yes, I agree some are in need, but many have no desire to change and don’t want to.

    • Michael Frost says:

      Jobs are critical. The resource extraction industries leave cities/counties in dire straits. Support local businesses wherever possible. Avoid Walmart, etc.

  17. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    We’ve been in Chico a couple of times in the last two weeks. The downtown area as well as the residential sections seem to be free of this kind of issue – at least during the day. (I know Chico has plenty of issues of its own, which seem to be mostly related to alcohol.)

    What are they doing that Redding isn’t? Is every similarly-sized town experiencing these kinds of problems to the degree Redding is? What is working elsewhere that could be incorporated here? Surely this is not a problem unique to this area and other communities are working on solutions.

  18. Steve Steve says:

    I travel around the western U.S. a fair amount. The homeless are everywhere. We maybe have more than our share camping in our open spaces and greenbelts, but they’re everywhere.

    What we have — in far greater densities than I’ve seen elsewhere — is a home-grown population of young, unemployed, uneducated, lazy, drug-taking, cheap-house-and-apartment-dwelling bottom-feeders. I see hundreds of them every single day in downtown Redding — they’re easy to spot. Housing the homeless seems like a cake walk compared with the task of dealing with our bottom-feeders.

    I once asked a master gardner how to get rid of Bermuda grass. Her response: “Move.”

    My cynicism about this area’s ability to muster any kind of well-organized response to just about any challenge has led me to believe that the Bermuda grass solution might be the one for me.

  19. Terry Turner says:

    It’s scary to me how rampant meth appears to be. That would trigger so many other issues.

  20. Carla Jackson says:

    Chief Paoletti will be holding a Town Hall meeting for the public at 6 p.m. on July 30 at the Redding City Council Chambers. I plan to be there and encourage all concerned and fed-up citizens to attend. Let him know we are frightened, angry, and sick of the, “it’s not as bad as it seems” platitudes. Let’s flood City Hall with righteous indignation. Our elected officials have allowed this to happen to our community and it is their responsibility to fix it. Now.

  21. We are doing everything we can in the Olive Avenue area of the west side to encourage homeowners, apartment owners and managers, landlords, and tenants to stand up and start taking our neighborhood back. The City and RPD have been very supportive of our efforts and we continue to make progress. But despite code enforcement issues and criminal activity happening at some of these blighted properties and drug-infested apartments, what we have found is that the power is in the hands of property owners/managers. If the property owner is out of town or even ACROSS town and only cares about getting his rent, he often won’t know or care if it is paid in drug money. If property owners and managers turn a blind eye to the culture that exists at their property, the mischief goes completely unchecked. And that means that our kids get exposed to the criminal and disturbing behavior of these folks and their unsavory guests. It also means our cars are stolen and houses are robbed so they can pay for drugs.

    A neglected property in this town spells opportunity for criminals and druggies and pimps (yes we do have them in Redding). We are currently watching the bad actors move around our neighborhood: as one property owner/managers steps up and becomes more active, they move to the property that has the most lax management. You want to find your weaknesses? Stress the system. Vacant apartment units, large complexes with no onsite manager, alleys, homes for sale, lazy landlords. The bad guys will let you know in a hurry where these guys are.

    If you are having issues with a house or apartment in your neighborhood, call the Shasta County Assessor at 225-3600 and find out who owns it. There are good people who own property that might be unaware. These folks will step up and address the problems. But sometimes you will find the owner that makes excuses, or doesn’t have time to deal with the tenants, or says (as we have heard so many times) that “these are police issues.” Police are not property managers. They don’t screen the tenants. They don’t review applications. They don’t have authority to evict. These are 100% property management issues that they need to address.

    Here is more food for thought: Rental property is a business that generates revenue, right? So doesn’t running a business come with responsibilities? What if a bar didn’t have bouncers and there were fights on a regular basis? What if a restaurant allowed the sale of narcotics on its property including non-paying visitors who came and went to buy drugs? What if an veterinarian allowed its animals to defecate on the playground next door and left it for the school to clean up? What if a department store held an all-night promotion with rock bands Would anyone be held accountable? Of course!! But for some reason, we forget that landowners who rent out their properties need to actually manage their businesses.

    It is time for property managers, landlords and owners to be held accountable and we as a community need to start speaking out to them to let them know what happens when they are not there.

    Our strategy is simple: Assess-Connect-Act. ASSESS your biggest public safety, nuisance, and disturbance issues, then prioritize them and start at the top. CONNECT with the right people who can have the biggest impact on the problem (decision-makers and those with authority: property managers, police, code enforcement, neighbors). Then ACT to work through the issue. Report to landlords and property managers, report crimes and disturbances to Police, conduct issue specific neighborhood meetings and have a dozen or more people acting toward the same goal. When that issue is resolved, start the process over. This process is working for us, but there is still a lot of work to do.

    • Wow. Just wow. A great post, Jason, with some real solutions. Keep us posted. Good luck to you and your Olive Avenue team.

      • Thanks Doni! Appreciate you bringing more attention to this. This seems to be one of the most talked about issues in Redding right now. And everyone I talk to has the same response. “Yes, I am frustrated but WHAT DO I DO?” Turns out we can do a lot. Just takes a focused effort by a group of people fed up with the current state of affairs.

        As I said recently at a Public Safety rally put on by Brent Weaver, the next step will be connecting all of our neighborhood groups and keeping track, city-wide, of where the bad guys are instead of the other way around. Let’s make this a riskier place for criminals to do business.

        • Yes, I like the idea of a web of neighborhood networks, each communicating with one another, so that if something happens in the Garden Tract, the nearby Kutras and Parkview neighborhoods would also be clued in.

    • Valerie Ing says:

      Right on, Jason!

  22. cheyenne says:

    I retired eight years ago and left Redding. At that time I worked at Shasta High School as a custodian and would get off work between 11pm and 2am and would drive right through the center of Redding on my way to Anderson. The streets were deserted, there were no roaming gangs of evil doers. At work we did encounter dumpster divers who were harmless and friendly. We would get skate boarders doing their thing on the fences and steps and even roofs. I never felt unsafe and the night people who would show up on the school grounds were more inclined to talk than evil doing. From what I read eight years has made a huge difference in Redding and not for the better.
    It is not like that everywhere.
    I first moved to a small town in Nebraska where the law enforcement report would be items such as “high weeds on someones property”. “pivot watering roadway” and the classic one that made Jay Leno, “suspicious cat on porch”.
    I now live in Cheyenne, Wyoming and the law enforcement report mostly consists of drunks. In the summer we do get some panhandlers coming through, mostly by the freeway, but when winter hits the minus temps send them away. There are homeless shelters for the homeless, the Cheyenne city council budgeted $7500 for homeless children. Community Action of Laramie County has refurbished a building to house homeless vets and aid them in reentering society. I do have to mention that part of the funding for fixing up the building was a donation of $10,000 from VFW Post 11453.
    At the end of the month will be the busiest time for law enforcement, Cheyenne Frontier Days, as the population will likly triple as it injects $35 to $45 million into the economy.
    While we get a few gang bangers from Denver we do not have the equilvent of your AB109ers. Here there is no revolving door at the jail.
    Cheyenne reminds me of what Redding once was.

    • Beth Brunner says:

      I too, left Redding recently and moved to Utah. The problems facing Redding ARE NOT everywhere. It starts at the top with the state legislature, budgeting and the “social equality” mentality. In California, it pays to be homeless. In Utah, it does not. You are expected to carry your own weight. That is not to say that there are not helping hands for those who need them (temporarily), but a lifetime of taking is simply not permitted. The State of Utah is known for being one of the “business friendly” states, where job creation is commonplace. Businesses are not regulated to death and government agencies at the state level assist in growth any way they can. I might add that Utah is a non-union state and conservative by nature. The unemployment rate is now below 5% and northern Utah is exploding in growth and job creation. Crime is half of what it is in California and the 2nd amendment is alive and well (a fact criminals are well aware of). The good people are rewarded and the bad people know not to mess with the good ones. Communities rely on one another and their local churches to help out those in need, and believe me, they do. And clearly, it’s working. So if you are a social “do-gooder” who thinks everyone can and should be saved on the backs of law abiding, tax paying citizens, you might not like it in Utah.

      • PB says:

        Utah also has less than 3 million residents, as compared to California’s more than 38 million.

        In addition, 62 percent of the people in Utah belong to the Mormon Church, which is very good about applying some of its vast wealth to helping its members in need. Receiving assistance (or a job) shouldn’t depend upon being a member of a particular religious faith.

        • Beth Brunner says:

          Members of the LDS communities in Utah are known for reaching out and helping anyone, anyway they can, regardless of their religious affiliation. I know this firsthand, as a recipient. They are raised and taught to help others. It is a way of life and an expectation.

          • PB says:

            I’ve found very few churches in THIS area that are willing to do much of anything for the poor and homeless (which has sometimes even included their own long-time dues-paying members who fell on hard times through no fault of their own).

        • Beth Brunner says:

          I’m not sure the population has everything to do with the current problems plaguing Shasta County. California has always been heavily populated and was once the “golden state” where dreams came true and most people were prosperous. Heavy regulations and massive growth of government bureacracies managing those regulations has done nothing for the growth and prosperity for the majority of California’s citizens. There are a few areas that are still doing well, but the majority of the state is hurting and the jobs that once made California THE destination are gone.

          • JohnN says:

            I don’t really disagree with much of what you stated. However, in this instance I think we are feeling the results of deregulation and decades of cutbacks in most public services.

          • ed chamberlain says:

            Can you say “over taxed” people say that out sourcing is the problem but it is the result of the problem. jmo I miss my childhood in Redding but after reading the general mind set of some of these posts, I don’t feel so homesick. good luck and I will remember Redding as it was in my youth.

        • Ginny says:

          I am not a Mormon. But I know for a fact, they will help anyone at any time that needs it!

  23. Randall R. Smith says:

    Thanks Doni,

    Over forty years ago, we did vote twice (Michigan then San Francisco) with our feet for better living. To leave Redding now without a fight as some of our friends have done would be giving the crooks a wonderful place with no assurance the Hamlet question is addressed.

    Our village with its huge footprint has one uniformed patrol officer on duty for nine square miles. When you see three squad cars at an accident or a shooting, almost half the town is unprotected. As already referenced, we have not kept pace with either our growth or society’s changes. If you are observed in Medford operating a motor vehicle were exchanges occur out the window of money or other objects, you are given a meaningful ticket. We could and should label all donations of clothing, tents, sleeping bags, etc. so that they could be returned rather than sent for ninety days to the evidence locker and then the landfill. Citizens can (must) empower themselves to help correct this situation.

    Those who say enough is being spent are living a lie or simply do not value safety. As for the unemployment situation, there are jobs, but we require illegal immigration to fill them. A local high school graduate finished half a semester of welding at Shasta College and is making almost six figures in Alaska. Reason: he wanted to work! Unemployment in North Dakota is 2%. There is a crying need to help our forests which burn every summer because the Quincy Library Plan cannot get released from the Plumas National Forest after fourteen years. Reason is the “let Nature take care of it” mentality files lawsuits immediately and forever notwithstanding good data meantime from Tahoe and last summer in the Ring Fire.

    Things are complicated, but not hopeless. Involvement is the only thing that works. Keep telling it like it is, no apologies. Things might get bad enough that folks will opt out of “no new taxes” for “promote the general welfare”. Our people in blue uniforms need our help, deserve our support. Overcrowded prisons are no excuse for giving criminals a revolving door. Statistics are pretty much the same across the decades. Only 1% of violent felonies are committed by men over fifty. If we can’t cure the lack of proper parental programming, we can house the malcontents long enough to save ourselves and our children.

  24. Bruce B says:

    Now days according to the drug cops (what is left of them), heroin is now a major issues here in Shasta County. “It’s everywhere”, one of the agents told me. Since they changed the oxycontin coatings, all the people addicted to pills have switched to heroin.

    Crime is up, mainly due to no jail space(County and State issues), no prison space(State issue and voter issue). People say get the druggies out, they are in jail anymore due to AB109 and look at the issues we have. I am in private work now and cannot believe all the business owners who tell me they don’t even call the Sheriff or Redding PD anymore because it takes “4 hours” for an officer to show up when they are detaining a shoplifter (who is on Probation and steals from them almost every day), they just forcefully detain him and get their property back and kick him out of the store. I witnessed it one time and asked why they didn’t call RPD. The people I deal with know they will not stay in jail unless they seriously injure or kill somebody. Crime now pays if you have low self esteem/morals. You can commit many thefts before actually getting caught. Then if you get sentenced to 6 months in jail, you do a day or two and get out, credit for 6 months in jail for two days or so because of the jail cap put on by the State and Federal government. They all know this.

    We the voters have to share some blames as for years in the late 80’s, we continually voted down bonds, grants, funding for more prisons, larger jails, etc. This is the result.

  25. PB says:

    I’m glad to see that the focus of this conversion has moved somewhat from the “homeless” to the drug-addicted criminals (housed or not) who are actually responsible for this situation.

    The words “homeless” and “criminal” or “drug-addict” have become interchangeable in this area, when in fact the majority of people who are homeless are in that situation due entirely to loss of jobs or some other sudden economic hardship, domestic violence, medical problems, etc. Unfortunately articles like this (and some of the comments above) discourage the community from donating to organizations that help the truly needy (which include a fair number of children). Most of those people are highly appreciative of whatever help they receive.

    Also, I knew the “couple” from Florida mentioned above. This was in fact a young single woman who lost everything she had in a hurricane, and came to Redding because this is where her mother lived. However, after her arrival her mother’s landlord decided that he would not, after all, allow additional people in the rental. She fell in with the young man after she became homeless (and after exhausting the mere 30 days the Mission allots to people who are NOT drug-addicted). She certainly didn’t come to this area for its wealth of services, since the Redding area has far fewer facilities and services for the homeless than any other city of any size in the entire state.

  26. Sam Allen says:

    Doni, I am so glad you keep this up front! I still see new faces every day from the Raba bus station. There are some days as I come to work I see people shuffling along like the night of the living dead. To stop this constant stream of new faces, I think a few questions need to be answered from our city officials: 1. How many AB 109ers have been sent to Shasta County from 2012 till today? 2. How much money has Shasta County received from this program?
    3. How has that money been spent? 4. Where are these new transient people coming from? Are they being shipped here from other cities and towns and why? 5.What can be done to stop the homeless on SSI from spending their money on drugs and alcohol every month. 6. How is the county helping the few people trying to get on their feet? Adding fines and fees that must be paid for anger management , probation, and DUIs should be reduced for some of the ones that really want to change. We allow the truly bad people to run our city with no accountability and we have all these services that are designed to help but the problems keep getting bigger. As good ol Dr. Phil says ” And how is that working for ya?” We need to have a really huge city wide rally to let it be known “WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!”

  27. Randall R. Smith says:

    Sam and Valerie give valid opinion and ask good questions which are being addressed by a task force started a month ago by RPD Chief Paoletti. A uniformed officer, a county social service agent, a mental health worker and a community advocate are making rounds of camps on a routine basis. When there are people to interview, a standard ten question format is asked. Questions are the same for all respondents and cover topics as for instance: Do you know about or have you received public assistance? If an alternative were provided, would you avail yourself of it? Are you taking medication? Are you on parole? I don’t have the entire list, but the early data is quite revealing. Forty two percent of those interviewed responded by saying they were living where and how they preferred. About ten percent were supposed to be taking medication for mental health issues. When the survey data is collected, I am certain it will be shared without names so that the public can better appreciate this plague without a fog of conflicting information.

    In my fifteen years of brush whacking usually three times per week, I have never been assaulted or threatened with physical harm. Folks have verbally abused me for treating non native plants with approved herbicides while carrying a valid permit and certificate or being a crazy old man who hates people. Interestingly, often these same people are doing very unsafe things to their own bodies while they are castigating me. Also, so far, 100% of my interviews are always the same. “If we go to a shelter, there are rules: no guns, no knives, no dogs, no swearing, no lights after 10PM, no fires, no drugs, no alcohol, no smoking. We are free people and we are entitled to use public land.”

    There is a real and important battle being waged in our shared open spaces. Hopefully, more citizens will become engaged to actually see for themselves what is happening and try to make things better.

    • PB says:

      I can’t speak for the inhabitants of your worst-of-the-worst transient camps, but what I’ve heard from homeless people has been more along the lines of “I’ve already used up the 30 days Shasta County’s only homeless shelter allowed me to stay” (it’s not always possible to find full-time, living-wage employment and save the thousands of dollars needed to access permanent housing within 30 days). I have never run across anyone who claimed that they couldn’t stay because they wanted to bring guns, knives, drugs, etc. into the shelter, but I guess it’s all in who you choose to talk to.

    • Ann Rainey says:

      I cannot argue with your letter but I can question the validity of the responses. When I first read about the proposed team of law enforcement with a social worker, my first response was, “No way!”. If there is anyone a homeless family with young children fears more than a cop, it is a social worker whose only agenda in their opinion is to remove minor children and place them in foster or fos-adopt homes. I was employed as a social worker and peace officer both in Shasta county for a total of 31 years and have a little insight into the poor and/or criminal mind. I understand your point and agree with much of what you have said but I doubt very much that young families with children are happy living in an encampment with addicts, thieves and the untrustworthy.

  28. Beth Brunner says:

    At the end of the day, there is an older saying: “if you want to be successful, do what successful people do.” This can be applied to how states are run as well. Shasta County is dealing with the aftermath of decisions that have been made at the legislative level. That is where the problem lies and where the pursestrings are held. Here is an interesting article on how Utah has handled it’s homeless population:

    http://www.nationofchange.org/utah-ending-homelessness-giving-people-homes-1390056183

  29. Wellsaid Sally says:

    Loved the article, thanks for sharing.

  30. cheyenne says:

    PB,
    I lived the first twenty seven years of my life as a non mormon in Salt Lake City. I had no trouble finding work as Mormons respect people who will work regardless of their religion or lack thereof.
    As far as Redding churches I know Destiny Fellowship catered to the needs of the homeless and misfortunate. And I am sure other churches did too.
    When I first came to California I was homeless and slept in my car. I took the first job I could find at minimum wage and worked my way up the food ladder. There were no, or very little, homeless aids. I did it on my own. Since then California has turned into a welfare state rewarding non workers for not working. I personally tried to get many unemployed to work for the school district but they said they got more from welfare. That is a fact.
    It used to be desperate Americans asked for a hand up, not a hand out. Now it seems many just want a hand out.

  31. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    PB,
    The media has hardly been “fanning mass hysteria.” From the responses to this article, it’s clear that if anything, the media is under-reporting these crimes. As the article states, “I’m constantly struck by how many of these never appear on press releases.”

    A recent Facebook post detailed how a deranged woman attempted to steal a vehicle – repeated calls to 911 yielded no response; no report would have been taken. I can only imagine this wasn’t a single isolated incident.

    “Lets not encourage more by writing articles titled “Increase in Crime, Transients, Street People, the Homeless.” Doni touched a nerve with readers as evidenced by the huge number of hits and comments. Calling it by a prettier name doesn’t change the story’s content.

    “I would first try to determine how many more AB 109er’s are being located to the area beyond “Shasta County’s “share”. By all accounts I’ve heard, that number could be considerable.” Okay, then what?

    “Those who don’t want to take advantage of the help that is then available would be easier to deal with.” How? Construction on the new jail isn’t expected to begin until 2017. And jail is not rehab.

    All the solutions you’re suggesting take money (whose?) and a lot of time. Businesses like Carousel – who are supporting the economy, paying taxes, and encouraging a healthy regrowth in the troubled downtown area – don’t have years to wait for new shelters to be built.

    Rather than trying to make the situation sounds better than it actually is by continually diverting the conversation to talk about the people who are not (by your account) responsible for these problems, it would be more accurate – and you’d persuade more people to look at this from your viewpoint – to admit that there IS a huge problem with transients, homeless, the mentally ill and addicts who are making up a large portion of the criminal element (take a look at what remains of Shasta Mugshots).

    I don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer, but it’s clear that Redding cannot wait for these long-term solutions to take hold.

    • PB says:

      Redding is now paying for its past poor priorities and failures to address problems that other cities have been addressing for many years.

      When I first came to the Redding area more than 30 years ago, mental health services were nearly non-existent (especially when compared to other parts of the state). That situation has hardly improved.

      And while other cities were attempting to limit their homeless populations by using a portion of their redevelopment funds to create transitional housing, low-income/subsidized housing, and other facilities for the poor and homeless, Redding was using those funds to finance a lot of failed cronyist big-city frills that are now largely just a drain on local taxpayers.

      Even the portion of those funds Redding was required to set aside to replace all the lower-end housing it destroyed during its redevelopment binge (when the local homeless population rose by nearly eight hundred percent) was handed to favored local developers to build upper-end housing developments and trendy office complexes, with the condition that these projects would include a minimal number of “affordable” units.

      However, those “affordable” homes and apartments were typically well ABOVE even market rate, as their prices were set at the highest level allowed under state law, which was based on an average of the phenomenally expensive housing in the Bay Area and in Southern California – not what is “affordable” to families and individuals in low-wage Shasta County.

      And yes – there actually IS a campaign by the local media to demonize the homeless (at least according to the Director of a national homeless rights organization with whom I communicate).

      • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

        A campaign to demonize the homeless? Uh-huh.

        Saying that Redding has brought this upon itself is monumentally unhelpful. Sorta like certain TV preachers crying, “This tornado is punishment for XXX!”

        It cannot continue as is.

        • PB says:

          I expect that with the advent of the new Redding City Council after the November elections, the most heavily financed establishment candidates (who are sure to win) will implement a whole slew of draconian anti-homeless ordinances and/or an updated version of antiquated “poor laws”.

          However, that won’t necessarily decrease the crime rate by much, since many criminals are “housed” drug addicts who commit crimes to support their habit, AB 109er’s, and other members of the criminal element rather than the easily vilified – and highly visible – homeless.

          Part of the problem is the City’s rapid growth. When I first came to the Redding area several decades ago from Sacramento, the crime rate in Sac was already staggering. In the 3 months before I left, I was mugged twice (in broad daylight on busy streets), witnessed two armed robberies (also in broad daylight – at that point I avoided going out at night), and my nice middle-class neighborhood experienced a break-in at least twice a week. The population of Redding is now more than 3 times what it was when I first arrived, and with that growth came more big city problems.

          Criminalizing the homeless is easy (and popular). Dealing with the area’s rampant drug use, high unemployment, and low wages is not.

      • I’ve got your number (again … every time we publish a story about the homeless). Not going there.

        • PB says:

          I doubt I’ve commented on EVERY article you’ve published on this subject, since I don’t read this website, and only show up here when someone I know notifies me of an article like this. That being the case, I’m sure I’ve missed a few.

  32. Liz Andrade says:

    Perhaps city workers at every level could consider Detroit………..no jobs, more crime, impact on businesses so those businesses board up and leave. Detroiters with money decide anywhere but Detroit and guess what? Detroit is now requiring some city workers to pay back their “overpayment” from the retirement funds they worked for and paid into. Some must pay back $600. a month. Do the research- this is fact. Like the old saying “money talks and “BS” walks” City workers listen up– help the citizens fix this problem, or once Redding’s reputation scares off those who MIGHT have retired here and made the tax payers with options leave, you folks may be paying back your “retirement” to the City of Redding.

  33. Barbara N. says:

    Damn skippy Doni…tweakers and freaks are giving the homeless a bad name. They are not the same. Sad situation indeed when the freaks are running the homeless out of homes they don’t even have. The homeless need and deserve help, the tweakers, freaks and criminals…sorry, but get the hell out of our town. I realize not a lot of homeless people want help, just to be left alone. They are actually caught in a catch 22 situation. No matter who you are, or your situation…illegal to set up camp in the city limits. Even they leave trash and everything else. The blatant criminals are the worse though…party on…makes me sick. So yes, if you go to any trail head, park or any parking lot…be aware, and bring as little as you can. Sure as shit there is some punk somewhere, checking it out, ready to break in to what is yours. The police can only be in so many places at any given time.

  34. I find some interesting comments above, mixed with what I believe to be lies,
    drivel and self-serving promotion. Same old stories of all the homeless services
    and benefits waiting for those of the disenfranchised, who can make it to the shores
    of Redding Homeless Heaven. Even you Doni.

    Imagine, taking responsibility for the safety and over-sight of your own property,
    neighborhoods and businesses. You folks pat each other on the back like it’s some
    new concept or development or revelation God has finally shared with you. I too
    have 5 generations in the county and will continue to resist any stories, any posters
    or any groups, agencies that spout misleading comments or facts, stir up hate against
    any group of people or use the term homeless in conjunction with crime, drugs etc.

    We’ve been watching after each other in my neighborhood now for several decades.
    But recently joined NEXTDOOR online as well to even further increase the communication between the neighbors. Not against ideas that make sense, but I
    will not be whipped up into a lather by a bunch of self organized, self serving crime fighters and law promoters.

    You want Redding to be a safer place, instead of trying to fill the new police station
    and jail before their built, lets see that personal cameras are put on all existing officers
    lately a good part of the crime played out on citizens have been by our own police
    officers. You like facts and figures. Other California cities that have added cameras
    saw over 80% decline in officer complaints and 60% decline in officer abuses of citizens.
    Like I’m full of it. Watch the offers and settlement out of court and the other suits
    facing your force. You want citizens that respect law enforcement and the community?
    That would be a great start. Why don’t you hear our police chief begging for this
    technology? Until you do. Everything they and you say is suspect in my book.

  35. Gene Genie says:

    That video from Chris Solberg, er “John,” is tragically comedic in its callousness.
    Chris S: Look at poor John, flopped pathetically on the sidewalk in his shorts! It’s freezing outside! I’m not gonna help John, I just video him.
    John: Rrrawr!! Get away from me, pervert!
    Chris S: See, there you have it! The nerve of some people! Running a business while I have to sit out here in the cold and point my phone at John. I’m not even sure what I’m trying to accomplish, but it’s everyone else’s fault!
    John: Sure could use a blanket and maybe some pants?
    Chris S: Bless you Jesus

    • I removed Chris’ video.

    • Beth Brunner says:

      I am so tired of business owners being villified and blamed for not embracing the homeless. Without those business owners working hard to pay taxes, the homeless wouldn’t have the cell phones John referred to. Why is there a movement to bite the hands that feed the rest?

  36. Wayne Graham says:

    It is so sad I moved to Redding California in the summer of 94. There was no graffiti very few homeless people and in general a very very good place to live. I moved away to the Reno/Sparks area in 2010 and feel so much better. All my friends and family that I still have there keep telling me they cant wait to move. It is just good jobs and family keeping them there. I seen in one of the comments where tbey want you t vote for more police. Hahaha do you really think that is going to help it is the age old adage there never there when you need them. I could end all your problems with one law. The right to protect property with lethal force. If these low lifes new they could be shot and or possibly killed for stealing a bike, stereo, purse ect ect they would stop.

  37. Mike says:

    Let’s see-

    Jones – Makes a living selling weapons. Blames problem on costs of City employee salary and benefits

    Cadd – Blames problem on costs of City employees.

    Bosetti – Got his ass handed to him while running for State Assembly. Busy with Tiger Field and getting his name on a plaque for his legacy.

    Missy – Not sure what she is doing to address these problems.

    Francie – Better step-up pretty quick with a plan before her re-election.

    There is big money in supporting the walking dead:

    One Safe Place just awarded a huge grant.

    Rescue Mission same.

    Over 70 agencies supporting this population.

    Sounds like the walking dead have more rights than the taxpayers who are paying for it all.

    Thank You Doni for keeping these important issues on the front page.

  38. caitlin holloway says:

    Doni, I noticed your bio said your son is Joe Domke. You also have a daughter named Sara? If so, my brother and I grew up with your kids. We were born and raised in Redding. I remember when my brother was in high school he had his truck broken into in fronst of our house during the night and had his stereo ripped out and his CD case stolen. Same thing happened to me shortly after I graduated high school except mine happened in broad daylight, during lunch break ( we live across eureka way from Shasta high school). last year, my mom’s garage door jammed and was slightly open. It was broken into and many valuables were stolen. Her car was broken into a week prior even though there was nothing to even steal. I moved to Sacramento 2 years ago, and I feel like all I hear about is how the violent crime rate is up and the rape and domestic abuse rate is up and how redding ranks up with worst places to live. It breaks my heart and makes me worry about my family all the time. I see Facebook posts from friends about helicopters circling their neighborhoods and stabbings and increase in deathly bar fights. It saddens me to realize this is what our little town has turned into.

    • Hi, Caitlin. Yes, I have three Domke kids: Sarah, Joshua and Joseph. 🙂 Regarding crime, many people here are trying to turn the tide and reclaim our city, a place that has a lot going for it.

  39. Patrick says:

    I wanted to ask a question to the followers, what do you think the city should be doing with the so called “Motels” on Market street that are really “flop houses”? I was think about this every time I drive along Market street. If you were driving I-5 and got off at the Market St exit, THINKING your going into Redding looking for a hotel and see what is being offered.. would you stay here? (you got off I-5 south too soon to see Hilltop Dr. hotels). When “motels” rent by the week to criminals, hookers and druggies is that really still considered a “motel”?
    How about Capri “Motel” on 273? Would you or anyone in your family want to stay there overnight? The other 4 or 5 downtown only house the trouble makers of Redding which increases the crime and drug use. I would love to have someone do an undercover story and check into these so called “motels” and see what the rooms are really like, how they are operated and who’s staying/living in them. Perhaps a sign change on I-5 would be a good thing noting that exiting on Market Street will put you into our (rated D) zone and Hilltop could be rated as a “A or B” letting travelers know that the low rated motels are not in the safest areas. I see out of state plates many times at the flop houses with older, unaware traveling public “thinking” their in Redding and leaving them with the impression that all of Redding is like Market St. Thoughts???

    • Valerie says:

      That’s a really good point, Patrick. I would hate to trample on the rights of the enterpreneurs who run these establishments, but I would like to see some kind of limit put on how long someone can stay in a motel so that by law they can’t be used as long-term housing. In the dozen years that I’ve lived and worked in downtown Redding, the increase of neer do wells who DO have a place to lay their head at night in the motels of downtown Redding seems to have skyrocketed, and the streets in the areas within 6 blocks of each hotel being used for long term housing teem with the 3 B’s (people with undersized bicycles, babystrollers and/or backpacks) looking for something to steal or someone to deal to, and panhandlers. Removing this subsidized long-term housing would, I understand, make these people homeless. But it might also help them either move on or find a more fruitful way of living if they have no options any longer in Redding. We have made it too easy for people to be unproductive, uninvested members of society. I’d like to either find a way to help these people become productive or invested or help them find the door.

    • Mass Genocide,seems to be the only way, I mean what gives them the right to be homeless and dirty? I wish there was another way, alas.

  40. Stephanie says:

    I grew up in Redding, moved away for 24 years and just came back. I can say without a doubt I’ve never lived in a town with such a homeless problem. I’ve lived in Stockton, Bakersfield, overseas… yes, even Stockton. Most towns have an area. You know to avoid that area, but for the most part the rest of the city is relatively safe. If you venture into the “bad area” and are robbed or attacked people look at you like “what were you doing on X street?”.

    I understand the desire to help those that need it. However, you can NOT help those that choose this life. No amount of free help will make a difference. It is a choice. I have a distant relative that is living on the street, on drugs, because she chose it over her own child. It isn’t that she doesn’t have help or resources. She has rejected them all.

    I also understand that the released prisoners used to be dropped in Reno from the Susanville prison. I completely understand NV saying no. So they drop them here. These are criminals, not little Suzy runaway who has lost her way and just needs a hand up. The solution is quite obvious to me…
    All future released prisoners will be dropped at the bus station with a ticket back to the town they came from. You offended in Oakland… you did time up North… your time is done… we send you back to where you came from. This can sound cold, but we can wrap it up in a politically correct bow. Not having resources like family makes people likely to re-offend. We are removing that obstacle and giving them the chance to have the best shot at staying out of prison. As for the cost, try it for one year and if the cost to the tax payers of the City of Redding isn’t lower then cancel it. I doubt that is the case. In Delano the inmates are dumped with roughly $200 to go anywhere else. Most take it. Why? People aren’t looking to help them there. If you remove the “help” and give them the means to leave, most will take it. If not you are just setting up this town to be a holding ground for more and more criminals. Will there be some collateral damage to those homeless that aren’t finding the easy free resources? Perhaps, but in the end it would leave those resources for those that truly need it and want it.

    At the end of the day, we moved here to care for family. I remembered Redding as this lovely little town with a lot of outdoor activities. What we found was a town with a crime rate and homeless population completely disproportionate to it’s population. What is the point of these great river trails if you can’t run on them safely? Soon it will be a town of people that can’t afford to move out supporting those that choose to live on street or are held hostage by the criminal population. We haven’t even been here an year and are considering moving already.

  41. Sam says:

    From someone who has worked a little in Mental health. The frustrating part in all of this is that you cannot force someone to get help.

    You may know they need it, or should at least consider it, but you cannot make them.

    There’s a new program out of SF that would work really well for Redding for people who are repeat offenders suffering from Mental Health issues. It basically gives them the choice between jail and mandated mental health treatment. Again, they have the decision to get help, but it brings the odds of them seeking treatment up significantly, when it is only one of two or three choices.

    Nevada county is also doing something similar, as a trial, and it is working really well with their problems.

    There’s help out there, it is just slow.

  42. Nonah says:

    The problems are obviously multi faceted. But I believe the 2 most significant changes in the last couple years are…
    1. We are the largest city north of Sacramento, on the I-5. Alaska is now ‘the place’ to be, if you are in the drug trade industry. So, simply put, whoever controls I-5, from Mexico to Alaska, controls the drug traffic. So the gangs have moved in, and started fighting for control of it. So along with the gangs, comes more violent crimes, and more drugs.
    2. Dr. White is a criminal, and deserved to be arrested, and put out of business. I know that first hand, because I was a patient of his, and nearly died, following his ‘care plan’. However, when they were set to arrest him, there should have been an emergency medical plan, for his patients. There were hundreds, if not thousands of people, who were seeing him, to get their drugs, that were instantly cut off. In the 6 months after his arrest, the heroine use in Redding nearly doubled. I don’t think that is a simple coincidence.

  43. Karen says:

    It’s a complex issue, made much more complicated with the passage of AB109. The police arrest people, then the courts let them go. There’s more money in renting the jail space to out of area prisoners than keeping local criminals locked up. The Police unions demand such outrageous benefits, that there’s not enough of them to do the job. Building another Taj Mahal for the Police won’t put one more cop on the street, or one more criminal in jail, but will waste more tax dollars that could be spent on real solutions.

    Drugs are rampant in Redding, but free or low cost detox facilities (that actually hold addicts accountable, not just get them addicted to more drugs) or rehab are severely lacking. Many of those on drugs are self medicating and need psychiatric help, again, sorely missing.

    Add to that the lack of jobs, people that abuse the system, etc. and it’s a recipe for disaster. Those that need financial help can’t get it, but those that know how to game the programs, SSDI, Welfare, etc. do well.

    To top it off, Redding and Shasta County are both anti business and rather than work with businesses to find solutions, they are rigid and inflexible, with no imagination for new types of business structures, etc.

    Redding should go back to majoring in tourism, allow vacation rentals, and other recreational type businesses, such as areas like Newport Beach, CA have. If the Kutras family would cooperate and aggressively develop the river into an area similar to River Walk in San Antonio, IMAGINE the changes that would follow! However; all the old boys attitiudes and boundary feuds between the City ad County, etc. will kill the area for sure. Shameful

    • Breakfast Guy says:

      Karen,
      You make a number of excellent observations regarding problems with Redding’s old boys attitudes and boundary feuds. Including:

      “Redding and Shasta County are both anti business and rather than work with businesses to find solutions, they are rigid and inflexible, with no imagination for new types of business structures, etc.”
      And,
      “If the Kutras family would cooperate”… and allow development along a section of the river into “an area similar to River Walk in San Antonio, IMAGINE the changes that would follow!”

      I’m no avocate of Texas business practices but surely Redding could do quite well with a little vision and imagination like this – http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/

  44. cheyenne says:

    Redding has always had homeless, vagrants, parolees, drugs without the crime now being experienced there.
    There are those who say the homeless are attracted to Redding because of an abundance of free help and then there are those who post that there is not enough help for the homeless in Redding. Some how I believe the truth is some where in the middle.
    Ask yourselves, why would the truly homeless that want to improve their lives move to Redding? Unemployment is high and even minimum wage jobs are scarce. The weather may be nice but there are larger towns in California with good weather and an improving economy with many starter jobs.
    It may be because I have been gone eight years I can notice big differences that have happened. When I read in the sports news about the realignment of the high schools I was shocked at how low the student enrollment had dropped. I found that Shasta County schools have lost about 15% of their students and they didn’t go to private schools as some of them closed. That means families are leaving yet the population in Shasta County has stayed the same.
    The criminal element is replacing those families and for one reason. Marijuana. Medical marijuana was legalized in 1996 in California. I lived there until 2006 and in ten years did not see the rise of the neighborhood pot gardens that are occuring now. I did not live in a bubble as I had many friends who smoked pot and some grew small amounts for themselves.
    There are those who will dispute my claim but I see what is happening ten miles south of me in Colorado. Medical marijuana seemed to be well regulated in Colorado but in January recreational marijuana became legal. Since then there have been 31 illegal honey labs explode with injuries. Colorado actually does license honey labs. The marijuana edibles have had so many problems that the governor formed a special committee to study the problems. Since January the Colorado Public Schools have stated a third of the students suspended, including elementary students, have been suspended for marijuana possession. They say they get their pot from their parent’s stash. Three elementary grade girls in Pueblo said, “Whats the big deal, its legal”.
    I only bring this up to show what is happening in a state with definite rules. Shasta County has no definite rules and the criminal element is taking advantage of that.
    California has invaded Shasta County and its up to the locals to cure the problems. Blaming others is not a cure, its a cop out.

    • david kerr says:

      Shasta County is losing population. You can look back through the Bruce Ross blogs for the story. School enrollment peaked in 2008 and has steadily declined. (Home schooled are counted in the school enrollment, because they are still supervised and tested by the district).

      The population is aging. Dan Walters had an excellent editorial on California’s demographic changes. It is free online in last Sunday’s Fresno Bee. Statewide, people over 65 will increase by 50% from 2010 to 2020. From 2010 to 2030, the population over 65 will increase by 100%. It is called the “silver tsunami” or “going over the demographic cliff”. Redding was once thought to be a good place to retire given the beauty of lakes and mountains, but cross off that idea because of the physician shortage.

  45. Beth Brunner says:

    This is the real reason there are reduced services for citizens (most importantly, mental health services) and fewer cops on the streets. The money is there but this is where it’s going.

    http://www.publicsectorinc.org/2014/07/calpers-deal-protects-the-wealthiest-harms-services-for-a-poor-city/

  46. Dave Andrade says:

    So Doni, how do we get you to run for City Council or County Supervisor with this as your platform?

  47. Tricia says:

    Doni,
    I received this post on my facebook. I felt a need to respond with a few comments. I have also taken time to read each individual comments and your suggestions along with suggestions of those responses. I would like to first state that you have some very valid points as well as all the comments. Your suggestions are not completely out of reach. First let me point out that NOT all crimes committed in Redding are by the Homeless. So please make sure future posts are excluding stereo typing drug users and drunk’s within the Crime category as HOMELESS.

    Let me introduce myself to you and your readers. My name is Tricia. I actually headed the VERY first Shasta County Crime Prevention with Steve Cilenti, and John Grimes (RIP) of the Redding Police Department along with Chief Whitmer (Chief of Police back in 1979/80.) Notice it was Called “SHASTA) Co. Crime Prevention? As to deal with the issues it was a County wide issue and not just the city. During this time the crimes began with Break and entries, car theft, drug use, vandalizing, business thefts, and some loitering (especially in park and private property area’s.) These crimes are NOT new to the area. I did say back in the 1979/80’s.

    As the former community leader of the Crime Prevention I worked extensively with those mentioned above but also with ALL Judges, Board of Supervisors, City Counsel, the Mayor, Police Department including the Sheriffs Department, News Media (both paper and Broadcasting including Airwave), The public, Business owners. It was a well organized Crime Prevention County Wide involvement.

    We held Bi-Weekly Public meetings within the Court House at the Board of Supervisors Chambers as this was a County wide issue and was not taken lightly by those in Government and a cry out to them to respond to action. Each Bi-weekly meeting was a guest speaker from a Department head would speak regarding the current issues in their area to address and oversee. At the end of each meeting it all came down to the DA (District Attorney). So the community called for him to speak.

    The supervisors chambers were full of all the above and the halls with more public than can count. Our DA arrived quiet late, and when all welcomes were done and said, I questioned immediately about the crimes etc.. He said and I quote waving his hand, ” Those are just petty crimes, they will just get tossed in the trash, we are more concerned over cases such as fraud… ” I can not give you the rest of the quote as I was in shock along with every member sitting or standing before him. To say at least, the meeting was ended quickly, and I apologized but resigned that very night. Within the next day to a few days later, our DA was ask to resign or impeached. He was indeed removed from office after a complete investigation.

    The reason I told you this story is not to boast, but to show an example. Your idea is exceptional to the recourse of our homeless situation, but for the CRIMES it must Start with community involvement with EVERY Government known agency involved, along with your District Attorney. Resolutions can be founded!

    SAM gave a prime example as to SF program. If found in possession or addiction to drug use The individual has a choice to go to jail, or rehab center. After which if you can get your program implemented then if considered homeless they will be required by Local Law to enroll into a community program such as you suggested. However I would also have THEM run the program with exception of those in Government or appointed to oversee and train. With strict guides that PART of their money will no matter what go directly to the program for their housing and training, food etc. If found in a theft situation, they will do jail time and be on security control within the community program and again money received by the state or otherwise will be appropriated towards their stay and service for 1 year.

    Local Business’s should be directly involved with at least a 50% participation for Employment opportunities and training volunteer services. A community involvement must also be involved on a volunteer basis to offer and implement suggestions for work, or trade in self sufficient ideas, etc.

    A certain area should be implemented with a rental CAP. We have an abundance of Rentals here in SHASTA CO. Which have used State and Federal Grants for improvements, but do not make their housing affordable to the lower income bracket. They too should be held accountable for the monies they have received to help improve the community and this money is granted for the low income. They also must be monitored equally (I believed as mentioned by Jason ?).

    There should also be case workers who can spend two days a week within the exclusive community who will assist those who need help with Welfare, Social Security Services, Housing Services, Mental Health Services, and Family Services. Grant you, these programs do exists. However when you are on the streets, walking, and getting to one of these offices it is hard! If there is one place centered for ease of access it is more tempting to seek help. A follow up case worker can also be implemented for housing once a home is established.

    Regardless of your feelings and others on Faith Based religions, they are vital to a community. Everyone has a choice not to become involved or to become involved and it is not required but Faith Based organizations/churches have a long standing of helping where no others can seem to get through to someone. Their involvement is also vital.

    Regardless, if someone is on drugs and under the influence this is a bad habit to kick and I will not ever guarantee success, but every human being deserves chances over and over again until they get it right. You never give up, or throw a human away, because you fear for your own safety. Nor can you sweep them under a carpet and pretend they do not exists.

    Let me add before I final this little (haha) post. I only heard a few folk indicate they assisted any homeless, or less that appealing socialization person. This is sad. I think a song to put it simple with a song from Phil Collins (Another Day in Paradise).

    I once was in need several years ago of help around my home. As a single mom and on assistance I could not afford anyone to do the work for me. Against the judgment of all those around me, I went to the Mission (Not the one under current administration). I was advised to stay clear of all homeless and never ever to think of hiring one of them or allowing one of them into my home. I was appalled by his lack of concern or respect. I however did go to the park on Cypress and yes I was nervous. I questioned three men who all declined my offer but as the 4th one walked up they volunteered his services.

    I have to admit, I was completely amazed. I offered him a room in my garage to sleep in, a shower to wash in my home, and he could do his laundry, and there would be food to eat as long as the work lasted. Amazing was not the words to use. He completed all the work within two days that would normally take about 1 month or longer for me. I kept him on and finding him other things to do. He revealed his past, and he allowed me to check him out. Which I did. I called his probation officer and he confirmed all the information I was given. I told him I did not have much but if he wanted anything to please tell me before he just took it. In our talks over those two weeks he stayed with me and MY children. I learned we actually started 1st grade together years prior. I pulled out my old grad school pictures and there he was. More so gratifying was he had been released from prison for a while and yet to contact his children or make contact with his own family who were local.

    When he left, he was a different man. He had contacted his family and arranged for a day to spend with his children. His family was elated. He loved living on the streets. However he said after seeing me with my own children and seeing that there really was a thing called a normal life and family that did exist, he wanted to try his hand at it. I do not know what happened to him, as I have looked on the streets for years for him. I have yet to come across him to this day. I can only pray he had a happy ending to his life on those streets and now has a family he is proud to be in charge of and care for.

    So to your readers, sometimes it just takes a smile and respect. Look past the dirt, or torn clothes that smell of stench. Close your eyes and imagine, if all was taken from you, what would you do and how would you want others to see you. Not all homeless are bad.

    I hope I have offered a bit of insight to humanity and reality. Communities can talk all they want. Action is what is needed. A plan, involvement, dedication and heart!

    • Laura says:

      “You never give up, or throw a human away, because you fear for your own safety.”

      I disagree. No one is worth me giving up my own safety. When they threaten my safety they lose. I have a right to protect myself. I do not feel bad that I have given up on that element. It is not my responsibility and I choose not to yoke myself with that burden. Sadly, the Redding I grew up in no longer exists and one of the best decisions I’ve made was to give up on Redding. I tried to help my community but when it was apparent that I wasn’t making a difference, why should I put myself at risk?

    • Ann Rainey says:

      What a heart warming letter. You are truly an inspiration to those of us who sometimes feel like giving up and throwing in the towel. You make me thankful that I have the wherewithal and the empathy to give when allowed the opportunity, even if it is a few cold washed tomatoes to a homeless man who told me he had not eaten a tomato in 15 years. God bless you and your attitude!

  48. Hi Doni,
    I love your heart for this community and your gift of articulating it so well. I am equally saddened and frustrated by the thoughtless criminals wreaking havoc in our small community – the worst part is seeing the sense of community and safety also be stolen from caring individuals in our beautiful city.

    I have been developing a community-based program that has been successful in many cities throughout the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.K. I have pitched the concept to one of our Deputy DAs and one of our County Supervisors, and both of them wanted to implement the program.

    Rather than pour it out here, I would love to sit down and talk to you about this community program to get your thoughts as well. It is worthy of a proper presentation, which I am also preparing for.

    If and when you have the time, I would love a few minutes to share this with you.

    Thank you for addressing this topic and for doing it so well!

  49. C. says:

    Many police departments are required by policy to have a homeless liaison officer. Many police departments don’t have an HLO because they don’t have the budget. Redding needs to have one if they don’t.

  50. Chris says:

    Im a delivery driver for a company in Redding and I also go out of town in all directions, but Redding no matter where you are is getting to be horrible. I drive around with my coworker all day delivering and since alot of times we go to houses so we feel comfortable to leave the truck unlocked cause we are right their with it and never one of us is really away from it for more then a couple minutes but we definitely know every place never leave it unlocked or anything. On New Years Eve a guy around late 20’s to early 30’s came to my door while I was at work (in Fall River) and asked my fiance who’s truck that was that was parked out front. By the way I live in a very nice area of east Redding and have been here for 8 years. So she just said it was mine. Well I own another truck which I had drove to work. He then asked if I was home and her not thinking cause of where we live everyone is always outside no matter what time of DAY not really night except for dog walks or people jogging said no. He threw her into my house and luckily the door was still open. She screamed for my English Bulldog who would never hurt a fly but he knew something was very wrong and bit the guy in the the leg. Then the guy began to kick my dog but it gave her enough time to throw him back out and lock the door. Cops were called, chopper, k9’s and multiple units where in my neighborhood and surrounding areas but he was never found. Thank God for my dog. It was gotten out of control the drugs the breakins the shooting and everything in the last year or two. In the 8 years Noting like this has Ever happened around here besides one night some punk kids went and checked cars for being unlocked and taking stuff out. Now it seams we got to have a gun or something. I personally do since I hunt but now we have a bat and a metal security door that is locked at ALL times no matter what. This whole epidemic is getting way out of control and someone needs to do something about it because if the cops cant or wont then the people are going to start. I know if I was home that day it happened to my fiance the guy would not have been running walking driving or whatever away that is for sure.

  51. Todd says:

    I think the demise of Redding will be the folks like me (educated, upper – middle class) quietly leaving town. As much as my family and I want to stay and fight, it’s hard to get get behind a city that seems to have different priorities. We will quietly pack our bags and find a safer community to raise our children and grandchildren.

  52. Tricia says:

    Laura, So sorry! I should have worded that comment a bit different. Common sense is common sense as to danger towards yourself. Constant living in fear is the worst. I just meant do not give up.. I would never encourage anyone to ignore their own safety as the comment indicated.. Again Sorry!

    • Laura says:

      Tricia, thanks for the clarification. I’m also glad that there are people like you who are able to stay in the fight to make things better. I do hope that life for those living in Redding improve!

  53. HEISENBERG says:

    The solution is simple. Elect different people.

    The people of Redding elected politicians starting in 2006 who publicly stated it was their intent to slash public safety in Redding. It was not a back stab after being elected, it was not a secret, they ran on it, it was their platform. After being elected guess what happened? The cut the local cop shop to the bone…Redding will likely never recover from the last 8 years. Crime is not some tap you can turn on and off at will, its more like an infection, quick and easy to catch and hard to get rid of if it does not kill you.

    There was no fat hog to slaughter down at the local cop shop. They barely kept pace with crime in Redding when they had their skeleton crew. They have the same number of officers on the street down there as they had in the 80’s. Redding has ALWAYS neglected public safety in favor of other “nice to haves”. Now the city is ruined, perhaps forever, because of that attitude and the people the citizens elect.

    It will take a decade or more of making public safety the primary focus in Redding to turn things around, frankly I don’t think the public or our politicians have the gumption to do it. People are just too apathetic and ignorant to the issues anymore.

    Bottom line, and I was born and raised in Redding, lived here all my life. Redding has become a good place to be from.

    Stopped in at a local shop in Brookings, OR, the other day and funny enough the people that ran it were from Shasta County, they had the same thing to say. They left several years ago and after visiting recently are happy they did.

  54. HEISENBERG says:

    If you want some eye popping statistic’s on Redding’s crime check out citydata…..you know the website people look at when considering moving to a location. Pay close attention to the officers per thousand, less than half the officers per 1000 citizens as the average California city and higher than the national average in every crime category.

    It’s your city people…..

  55. nancy drew says:

    doni. i wish you would publish what is happening with crime in the redding area, and different incidents. my son has warned me not to shop at safeway/pine. i had no idea it was a bad area, because the paper does not publish incidents.

    some of us who are over 65, need to know these things. there is no website for us to access, so how are we supposed to find out? realize its depressing, but better to be armed than hurt.

    thank you for considering.

    • Dear Nancy Drew (love that name … I loved those books as a kid),
      I am not exaggerating when I saw that if we published all the law enforcement press releases, they would dominate the home page. As it is now, we have one dedicated staff person (hi, Barbara) who posts just law enforcement press releases.

      But here’s a solution for you: a link to the RPD press releases page. Bookmark this link for future reference, and you can see ALL the press releases. OK? 🙂 http://local.nixle.com/redding-police-department/

      Re the UnSafeway, I shop there a lot, and it’s just best to avoid it at night. Even so, I’ve never been hurt or threatened there, even when shopping at night. (OK, so I have seen fights there, and lots of interactions with police and security dealing with trouble-makers, and a fair number of people asking for money outside, but I’ve never been hurt.)

      That area is my neighborhood, which I love, and I wouldn’t call it a bad area, but it seems as we’ve had more than our share of crime activity lately, not violent crimes, but mainly thefts. (Am I sounding like I’m defending it? Maybe.)

      Hang in there, Nancy D.

  56. audacious@sbcglobal.net says:

    I too live in the garden tract. Sorry I do. My wife and I bought a home roughly 12 years ago, and I have watched it get worse and worse as the years have passed. We have been broken into several times, many things stolen over the years such as tools and camping gear. We’ve witnessed drug deals in front of our house, and even had a meth lab travel trailer venting its contents into our yard. We sleep with a loaded shotgun at the bedside and often I will patrol my yard during the night when the “activity level” wakes my children up at night. I’m working hard to save and prepare so we can move to a safer area. I wish the “Jesus” mission would move to another area and attract the trash away with it. I hope things change, but without some policy updates regarding vagrancy, I’m not sure anything will.

  57. Ron says:

    I to like Todd have quietly moved to another state part time and hoping to go full time in a few months. I have lived here for 35+ years and have raised my kids here.

    But it’s is time to move. It’s getting old listening to excuse after excuse and NOTHING getting done with the crime. I have not been a victim (yet) but have friends who have and seen crimes being committed so much that I know longer report it. I’m tired of living in fear at times. Not so much for me but my family. I don’t want to be at work sometime and get a call that my wife or kids got hurt by a thug. I know what to look for but they don’t.

    It’s funny the criminal element has more civil rights then the average law abiding citizen.

  58. Fed Up says:

    I look forward to the day I can move my family to Florida.
    Redding is getting worse and worse.
    The police do their best and I am not putting them down.
    But when seconds count….. The police are just minutes away.
    Why do you think you have to make an appointment to get a gun permit now?
    They had so many applications from people just walking in. More citizens are armed
    in Redding these days and someday soon someone is going to cross their path. Is that the total answer? No. But if some approaches me with a knife and demands money? I would be reaching for my wallet only to find a gun.

    Sorry, but I know that I will take flak, but I don’t care. I refuse to be a victim. You want to blame your problems on me and try to take advantage and steal from others you are in the wrong. Chico has a NO squating ordinance that works. What is Redding doing? Nothing. Anywhere but the free handout state of California is looking good about now.

  59. Janet says:

    I may be wrong, but I understand that a lot of people living in downtown hotels are sex offenders who, by law, are shut out of other places in the city.

  60. name says:

    I messed up.

    In earlier post where I suggested go buy a gun, I should have definitely added “and learn to use it correctly and safely”.

  61. John W says:

    Maybe the problem lies somewhere in the disdain that 95% of Redding residents show transients/homeless. The “get a job” look on on their face as the drive by. If I was verbally assaulted, spit on, generally avoided and disdained every day by virtually everyone I saw, well, who knows: I might decide that I was no longer a part of the community and might just do whatever I had to do to survive.
    Simple as that. Why don’t we all try showing a little compassion to our fellow citizens who are not as well off as we are? And no, a bible verse and a bowl of soup is not much compassion in my mind.

  62. John W says:

    Beth, I can’t imagine that anything I said in my previous post was calling any one person the “enemy”. If anything, my comments were directed at all of us, myself included. There are things that we can be doing to make our community a better place. ALL of us. It is disingenuous to blame it all on the cops, or even to blame it all on those who are stealing/breaking in, UNLESS you are willing to look at the problem as a whole. Those who throw a cinder block through a car to get at the purse that is on the car seat, do it because they are desperate. They are desperate for food/drink/shelter, OR they are desperate for drugs, etc. Either way, shaking our collective finger at the offender will not change anything. Throwing him in prison/jail where he will receive no treatment or rehabilitation will not change anything.
    More cops is not the only answer. More beds in the prison is not the only answer. More social services is not the only answer. More drug counseling and rehabilitation is not the only answer. An improved economy and lower unemployment is not the only answer. These are ALL pieces of the puzzle; they are all the answer. They must be incorporated together in order to truly solve the problem.

    In the meantime, and this is where I was trying to go with my previous post, why not help those we can help, instead of judging them, and passing them by?
    They are still human beings; they still deserve our respect.

  63. EasternCounty says:

    I truly admire John W.’s humanity; however, a friend owns a business near unSafeway on Cypress and Pine, and each morning as he opens his store, he has to shovel human feces away from his front door. He also frequently finds a person in his dumpster when he opens it. His warm feelings toward his fellow man lessen with each shovel load to feces day in and day out. Perhaps if more people would suit up, grab shovels, and clean up after those who sully other peoples’ property, business owners wouldn’t feel such distain toward those who use their property for their bathrooms.

  64. Jason says:

    I live in the parkview tract and experience crime on a day to day basis. I do what i can but im not a trained peace officer. I had to ask a tweaker for my wifes purse back after he broke into our garage and then our car. I walked out to my garage and he was standing there with my wifes purse i had no protection and was really scared. I asked for my wife’s purse back and told him to leave and i would be calling the police. Im lucky he left without incident but this kind of crap is in the middle of the day. I cant wait to move out of this city. Nothing will be done by are city counsel or board of supervisors until this kind of illegal and scary activity starts to effect there own families and houses on a day to day basis. More police is needed so since our city counsel and city supervisors arent solving the problems were paying them to maybe they should take a paycut across the board and higher more law enforcement. Me and my family are going to move to a city where the actual people who run the city actually care about and do something for there residents.

  65. EasternCounty says:

    I, too, have a house in the Parkview area. One neighbor had her garage door pried up and two expensive bikes stolen. Another had patio chairs stolen from his front porch. Two others had bikes stolen. Another had a container garden on his front porch, and three of his very heavy containers of vegetables were stolen. The neighbors are considering hiring a security firm to patrol the area since the police are so understaffed.

    So many of the posts here identify the problems of mentally ill, unemployed, and addicted people. True, but much of the problem is that many of these incidents are carried out by criminals, plain and simple. One post talked of a camp on Bechelli that is comprised of criminals. If we could rid our area of that element and those who produce meth and grow illegal marijuana, then perhaps we could deal with the mentally ill, unemployed, and addicts. But until the criminals are dealt with, we’re probably stuck with the status quo.

  66. Darlene "Victoria" Randolph says:

    Years ago the Cascade Theater was XXX ADULTs only blackened hellhole on Market Street. Right around the street my husband and I took in the homeless in a little Victorian on South & Pine St. We worked with a volunteer team of Hippies. We distributed free food from donations given. We were even given a years supply of shampoo from a local business. We laughed and our hair looked good. We worked the Downtown every day going out to get folkes Saved in Jesus. People who did get Saved were changed from the inside out. Many miracles happened to transform the thousands we worked with over the years. Some of these new Christians looked at that old Cascade Theater and we all decided to write a new city ordinance to stop XXX in our city. See we owned the streets our Jesus gang occupied by walking in love & authority. The homeless knew we were real. We formed a committee called the Shasta County Committee on Moral Concerns. We raised funds at a yard sale in my front yard behind R&R Meats. We wrote the city ordinance which is still on the books today limiting XXX. Today the Cascade Theater is the crowning jewel of Downtown Redding. Everyone CAME together in Redding to get that ordinance through. If a bunch of Hippies can do that in a few months then Redding can solve this problem. Work the solution. Money is not going to solve this. Our silly committee did it with a budget of a few $1000. Our resolve was worth MILLIONS.

  67. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    What a great discussion. I would like to add three comments.
    1) I have a homeless friend I’ve known for years. He isn’t a criminal and doesn’t use drugs or alcohol. I don’t even know where his camp is. He is clean and spends his time reading and doing what he needs to do to survive. I can’t tell you why he doesn’t have a job or live in a house.
    2) Can you imagine how you would have to mismanage your own life so that you were homeless? And feel comfortable living out in the brush? I can’t. I only had $300 when I first came to Redding, but I picked up a job waiting tables the first week. I am not better than anyone on this earth, but I knew that I had to work to survive. That “attitude” is a resource that served me well. Ask not what your community can do for you, ask what you can do for your community.
    3. Tricia, loved you story of your effort to help a stranger who needed your specific boost at that point in his life.

    We have an extraordinary police force and Sheriff department in the North State. A solution will require a collaboration of citizens and agencies of this area.

  68. EasternCounty says:

    An addendum to my post about getting rid of criminals: couldn’t we hire Sheriff Joe Arpaio or his clone?

    • Steve Steve says:

      In 1999, undercover Maricopa County deputies arrested James Saville, then 18 years old, and charged him with plotting to kill Arpaio with a pipe bomb. A local television station had been tipped off to the arrest by the MCSO, and broadcast footage of the arrest that evening. The MCSO held a news conference shortly after the arrest, and Arpaio appeared in interviews on local television stations, saying ‘If they think they are going to scare me away with bombs and everything else, it’s not going to bother me.’

      After spending four years in jail awaiting trial, Saville was acquitted by a Maricopa County Superior Court jury, which found that Arpaio’s detectives had helped buy the bomb parts themselves and had entrapped Saville as part of a publicity stunt.

      Saville filed suit against Arpaio and Maricopa County for wrongful arrest. In 2008, the suit was settled, with Maricopa County paying Saville $1.6 million.”

      That’s just a snippet of Sheriff Joe’s misdeeds. He also spent taxpayer money “investigating” Obama’s birth certificate, sending deputies to Hawaii. He directed his department to deemphasize pursuing sex crimes. He’s been sued for racial profiling and illegal jail conditions. He’s engaged in intimidation of judges and county supervisor, directing his deputies to harass and arrest them. Eleven lawsuits were settled for millions of dollars.

      In the decade in which most of this was going down, violent crime dropped in Arizona. Except in Maricopa County, under Sheriff Joe.

  69. cheyenne says:

    I watched the Adam Walsh special on CNN about the Shane Miller tragedy Sunday night. Shortly after the show started Walsh made the statement “Marijuana is the largest industry in Shasta County and it is illegal”.
    With a statement like that on national television coupled with the latest Shasta County news making the national rounds “Pot grower starts fire” is it any wonder that families are leaving while criminals are migrating to Shasta County.
    I left Shasta County eight years ago because my children couldn’t find jobs and I followed them. The really sad thing that I have seen on these posts are the ones from long time residents who are leaving because of the crime.
    It looks to me that crime is out of control in Shasta County regardless of who is causing it and I applaud those who have stayed and are trying to better the area.

  70. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    I apologize for part of what I wrote earlier. My second point failed to take into account that many things in life are out of our control. “Mismanagement” was a poor choice of words. My comment failed to mention that I had resources such as health and skills that helped me survive in Redding.

  71. Walk a Mile says:

    As a 31-year-old Redding woman, born and raised here, I felt the urgency to google “crime homeless redding” yesterday and found this recent article to comment on… Sadly after seeing my neighbor on the side of lake blvd, flapping his arms like a crazy and looking very sucked up, I had to ask myself what made a somewhat “normal” man all of a sudden become crazy and homeless? I think my family can help me answer the question….but a solution is no where in sight! Not to be negative, but my very own twin brother, whom I was raised up with(the same morals and values, basically the same upbringings) is/has been one of these homeless, criminal, druggy people you all are writing about for the past 6 years. I see him everyday. I used to give in to his “do you have any change, sis” routine. But not after the last 10 times of asking for him to HELP ME FOR ONCE. Easy stuff, like water my lawn out front or go to the recycling place to turn in my recycling(which I had already collected and sorted) offering to split what I get with him, and having my brother everytime disappoint me by not helping, I know exactly what to expect from these kind of people! Just a hand out asking for more, after you just gave them all your left overs and spare change! Not only is my twin brother one of them, my own father is a homeless criminal as well! He has been on the “down low” ever since he skipped his final sentencing court date, and knows eventually he will be on Redding’s Most Wanted, and will have to face the consequences. But until then…woohoo…my brother , with his $200 food stamp card in hand, and father with $800 per month SSD, spend EVERY PENNY (including all they get from the suckers on the corner and goods dug up from the dumpster) on drugs and alcohol, neglecting their basic needs, like food and housing! I’m sorry if you think I’m being harsh or saying all homeless people are like this…because that is not true. However, I believe it may be true for a majority of the criminals and homeless in this county. Most started as a drug or alcohol addict and let their addiction take them down to become homeless and helpless, surving on their next sack(cuz they can get a bigger one of those than they can get food, that’s just going to spoil without a fridge in Redding’s weather). Honestly, I wish I could give you a solution, but there’s just no way to “make a horse drink, after you’ve lead him to the water” as they say. At the heart of this criminal addictive behavior is selflessness, lack of respect, and the decision to never want the RESPONSIBILITY of their own life(not to mention the life of their mommyless/daddyless children) for the rest of life! I guess I got off on a bit of a tangent…sorry everyone….it’s truly sad what the American society has become today…I’m going to move out of this country as soon as I can….what country? I just don’t know anymore….maybe my own island or something….cuz it’s scary what we have to live with, especially around Shasta County. The truth does hurt….doesn’t it?

  72. Walk a Mile says:

    Also want to mention that more police will not help, I know, because over half of the offenses people are charged with, here in shasta county are dropped, in exchange for a guilty plead in another case. So what’s the point of the police catching them and documenting all the red tape to record offense(s) and drop it later? Or maybe the person just “forgot” about their final and they are never convicted? Or when they are caught 5 years later, they only serve a few days, and are given another “final” court date and “forget” to show up to that as well?

    People should open their eyes and see this as a FACT of Shasta county….the crime rate is exponentially lower than the truth because it’s not a stat until the person is actually convicted! If you doubt what I say, just look at one of our wonderful repeat shasta mugshot offenders, then go over to “case index” for shasta county courts and compare the dates….most of the arrests aren’t even documented! I know they probably got some reason, like it’s all recorded on their first offense date….but I don’t believe that! Not because I’ve had windows broken, cars stolen and that feeling of fear overwhelming my life, wondering what else could be taken from me…but because it’s clearly a broken court system! If everyone who has ever done crime in this town had to make it right by giving back to the community in a positive way…then we wouldn’t even be importing anything, from anywhere!
    I apologize for my previous comment and would like to suggest starting a “commune”, like they have on the coast, where everyone who lives there(or stops by for shower or food) contributes something, to help the community survive. I seriously believe that if we don’t start providing our own…food, shelter, goods, whatever it is that we need everyday….we will soon be devastated by our own “not-doing”. If all Of the unfortunate and unlucky souls we are writing about on here, really had a place to call their own, where they are part of a family who loves them and “needs them” to grow, sew, clean, manufacture, and/or contribute a piece of themselves, then maybe they wouldn’t be making the jail their “home/grounding point”? Seriously folks…if you don’t have food or a warm place to sleep in the winter here, isn’t being in the cozy jail the best alternative? So they have to commit a crime, just so they have a home, a community/family to be with. That’s where/what they feel safe being….in jail/prison where they have no responsibility or worry about there next meal or where they will sleep! We need some sort of outage for everyone….a place where we help provide what we all need….now I haven’t seen anyone suggest that….

    • Valerie Ing says:

      Walk A Mile, thank you so much for your comments. You probably have a much clearer idea of the root of our community’s biggest problems than anyone else commenting here. I ache for you that you have to deal with and watch your own family members be a part of the problem. I have also been suggesting a commune – out of the city – where everyone gives in order to receive, as an alternative to welfare/HUD/food stamps. Because you’re right. Our public assistance programs have become a crutch that’s being abused by many who aren’t really interested in ever walking on their own two feet and take responsibility for their lives.

    • Jason says:

      Having more police does not change the criminals thinking but what it does do is provide more eyes on the city. You ever see a kid sticking his hand in a cookie jar when mom and dad are watching him????

  73. David Mountain says:

    As I read the story and comments all I can do is shake my head. Then I read a story in the RS that said our Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to study the impact of “chemtrails”…really? seriously? really? Now I just weep for this city.

  74. Magnola Neighborhood Former Resident says:

    I moved away from Redding recently after 30+ years of living and working here. Why? I was tired of getting ripped off…vehicle, yard, home, trailhead, etc. I was sick of being panhandled each time I went to grocery store or post office. The vandalism, the druggies, and the slovenly parade of mostly angry young males on bicycles playing “chicken” with drivers on the streets of Redding. Yes, I called the cops…..many, many times. I experienced retaliation from druggie neighbors and their children. These criminals cost me too much stress and money. I feel so lucky I was able to move. Many elderly are stuck here, living in their urban fortresses wondering when they’re going to become a victim again. No solution on the horizon. Unsolveable at the present. Yes, we had Neighborhood Watch. Yes, as neighbors, we commiserated on a weekly basis when we shared our stories of vehicle thefts, vehicle break-ins, mail thefts, burglaries, threats, and general mayhem. I threw in the towel. Good luck Redding.

  75. Walk a Mile says:

    And if everyone reads the new laws our government enacted regarding illegal aliens, you would not believe what trouble we have to come! Please go to the Congress.gov website and search for results for; “all legislation”, “113 Congress”, and “became law”, and browse over the multiple Bills, Acts, Resolution, and Reports which are already in effect as LAWS to allow, protect, and serve ALL peps from 144 different countries who have illegally came here(or were brought here by our military airplanes under direction of the president….just read the bills….even that part was authorized by congress). I’m not trying to bash anyone for wanting a better life…I don’t blame them. I just want to mention it since I don’t believe that any of us ever voted for such laws. I thought our government is supposed to represent the country of individuals. Apparently, government does what it wants for OTHER non-American people! We shouldn’t be complaining about our homeless now…it’s a walk in the park compared to what’s to come with these criminal gang banger death squads that they claim are children!

  76. Rachel Branscom says:

    Donni
    Thank God for your comments. I am a mother of a young adult living on the streets in Redding. Let me say in bold print I DON’T SIT IDOLY BY WHILE MY KID IS IN TROUBLE! My husband and I came orignally from Seattle a a few years ago we landed in Orange County and we moved to the laguna area. My younger son at the time was going to a private college in Costa Mesa. This move was all due to the fact my husband was hit by a drunk driver. You hope insurers are going to be fair! Ha! We chose to start over after loosing a law suit with our disability insurers. To stay afloat we had to liquidate everything we had. The insurance system did us great harm. My daughter watched this helpless while we struggled to make ends meet for the first time while she was growing up. My husband was a very good provider and father. He was in the investment industry for years. We provided her with an excellent education but during the economic down turn she could not find work in Ca in her field. She was diagnosed with a mood disorder but quit taking her meds when she falsely was led to believe she did not need them and was HEALED. She did not want to be a burden to her parents and came to Redding to attend a very large church started there. She grew up helping homeless going to church and seeing a family that cared for those who were in trouble. She did not express how much emotional hurt she was dealing with until it was to late. WE thought she was attending church and finding her way in a healthy manner. She came home briefly for a while last winter. Now I know why she came home … it’s COLD OUTSIDE. WE noticed that her behavior was off. He got very up set after living at home for 8 months and abruptly left with out a word. Back to Redding where she had made friends on the street. She found a boyfriend on the streets and this group of young people came to Redding and was asked to leave the church there after disturbances or off behavior .My daughter had issues with some of the behavior she experienced during services and how it was dealt with so she did not want to attend any longer. The behaviors were out of control and not what she would expect from a bible believing environment would include in worship. At the time she was paying for and renting a room from a family at the church. Then she was shunned to a certain degree and not knowing what to do, Feeling like a failure sheran oiut of money after looking for a job and Then took solace with others….she not wanting to go home. She now has a boy friend that watches her back on the streets and that guy was VERY adept at living on the streets. He grew up in Redding and proudly told me he has two previos baby momas with two of his kids. The momas who are addicted to Meth. Oh great . Since then I did a check on him and he has been ticketed for drug paraphernalia no drivers license and no car insurance. He is driving my daughters truck which we gave .WE convinced her to renue her drivers license. Her tabs and insurance were due. We were in deep hurt and confusion about this. I have been in treatment for cancer but here we are! WE did scrape together some cash all we had to give her food and pay her insurance. Her boy friend knew of every agency and trick and said to me oh I’m CLEAN during his explanation of the baby moma’s . Yeah right and I’m the pope. My daughter said to me oh we can get dope with a dr’s permission and she had not been exposed to smoking that crap until she came to Redding and they were very adamant that they could get all they needed from the system. Her boyfriend also was saying that the marajuana in Redding was a huge draw for others being on the streets.My daughter is trying to get off the streets but the boyfriend is applying for SSI because he is dyslexic and cant’ read or work. He has no skills and his family lives in Redding and Red bluff. His mother was in prison when he was growing up. This explains why his disability was not caught. My daughter has had the best education money can buy. ….I don’t know exactly what she is hooked on but I did not want her to go to jail from loosing the truck and getting tickets she can’t pay because in Jail her disorder would not be addressed and she would be in OUR system with out having really addressed the real problem back on the streets to a boy friend who knows how to work the system and he is avoiding child support and no skills . He needs rehab and skills and a new brain! so they won’t just accept this poverty mentality. If not for him My daughter might have come home. I got to Redding as fast as I could after tracking down every friend that I knew she had mentioned in Redding. My husband took off work and we stayed at a motel 6 and back tracked to every pace in Redding she had spent money at your businesses because she has a atm card and we had her bank statement.. We found her because one of her street friends told us where to look. This person was having a lucid moment. Can I say MENTAL DISABILITY. The boyfriend is very nice but clearly has needs and he is avoiding responsibilities for his kids out there and paying his fines he has racked up. They are trying to get housing. My daughter is an extremely hard worker I know she would work if she could find a job. She looked like crazy and continues to do so. I left my kid there because she is naive and 28 and I can’t force her to do anything. BUT now she is talking to me all the time by tex and as my best friend says who is a therapist….You are building a bridge to get her a cross it. Keep doing what you are doing. I keep coaching her along to find solutions. The boyfriend has no coach and yes he is cynical. My girl did meet him at this big church .She has since discovered something’s that do not set well with her values. She quit. He was looking for hope. I am saving some money now so I can come back to Redding visit again bringing clothes and food and hopefully Hope for a better day. My husband and I have lost our home and everything we had. Things are tight to say the least. I need to find a councilor for us to attend while I’m there. My daughter said she would go and the boyfriend was open to this. The BIG church is there but I’m finding out that they have an attitude about their responsibility towards many people who are on the streets. They are the reason many of these people have come to town. Looking for hope. They need to step up and instead of kicking the street people around from camp to camp they need to hire several of these people to work and recreate their lives. I am prepared to move to Redding and am looking into all kinds of resource’s to change the environment to which my daughter is being held captive in. Her mind needs a rest from what she has been believing…. That she doesn’t matter and that good things do happen. Even if her Dad was harmed and it was not his fault. Why do we blame others and instead we should be digging in and finding solutions and working at the problem not just sitting by and watching with out a hand up. I am coming to Redding soon going to spend two nights hopefully at motel 6 and give a rest to my sweet heart and then go back on the streets with her and a sleeping bag to see what this is like from her perspective and please pray for us so we can convince her to get of the streets because there are choices!! There are avenues in Redding to take full advantage of to make her life better! My husband went to West Point and served his country and we are prepared to do what ever it takes to get our girl back. So just remember if you are rude or mean to some older woman on the streets it’s not possibly what you think and please give me a break. I am doing everything I possibly can do to rectify this very hard time with my family. Can we please work together? Thankyou.

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