Redding Police Chief Expresses Concern Over Rising Crime Numbers and Suggests Safeguards at Town Hall Meeting

Redding Police Chief Rob Paoletti at Wednesday's town hall meeting. Photos by Jon Lewis.

Redding Police Chief Rob Paoletti at Wednesday’s town hall meeting. Photos by Jon Lewis.

The rates of aggravated assault, rape and other violent crimes in Redding have increased from last year but police are making some headway, thanks in part to an increased awareness among residents.

That was one of the assessments from Redding Police Chief Rob Paoletti, who addressed about 75 people Wednesday evening during a quarterly town hall meeting in the City Council chambers.

Paoletti said he remains concerned with the uptick in violent crimes—he paused to note officers were responding to a reported armed robbery at that very moment—but he attributed some of the increase to a growing number of people engaging in “high-risk lifestyles,” including substance abuse.

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The bulk of the increase in reported rapes (54 this year compared with 35 in 2015) are what Paoletti referred to as acquaintance rapes, where the perpetrator and victim know each other. “A vast majority of these are not stranger rapes. These are cases involving family members, people who meet in bars, people on dates … but still, that is a lot of rapes for a community of this size.”

Although rape remains an under-reported crime, Paoletti credited the staff at One Safe Place, a center for victims of sexual and domestic violence, for encouraging victims to report sexual assaults.

Paoletti said since many of the rapes involve people who meet at bars, police are encouraging people to go out in groups and not to let friends who are intoxicated go home with somebody they barely know. “Take care of each other—that’s the message in that,” Paoletti said.

Calls for service are up 10.5 percent over last year but the response time has dropped from 14.53 minutes to 12.5 minutes, an improvement Paoletti attributed to a realignment of shift schedules for patrol officers. The realignment was one of the recommendations in the Blueprint for Public
Safety adopted by the Redding City Council earlier this year.

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Property crimes appear headed for a slight increase over 2015’s totals but police are encountering fewer non-forced break-ins; Paoletti said that indicates people are getting better at locking doors.

Vehicle break-ins continue at a disconcerting rate (824 reports in the first eight months of the year), and Paoletti said it’s a crime wave closely associated with the growing scourge of opioid addiction. “Stop leaving valuable stuff in your car,” the chief admonished.

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He urged women, when possible, to not take their purses while shopping. Men, he said, have to become “the mules” and carry packages rather than storing them in cars, “because they will watch you put stuff in your car and steal everything you just bought for Christmas.”

After reviewing crime statistics, Paoletti gave a presentation on opioid addiction. A public health crisis affecting the entire country, he said the abuse of opiates like heroin, oxycontin and hydrocodone is particularly devastating locally.

One telling statistic: In 2013, Shasta County residents received 1,291 opioid painkiller prescriptions per 1,000 residents—a rate twice the statewide average of 563 prescriptions per 1,000 residents.

During a Q&A session after his presentation, Paoletti was asked what effects the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 (Prop 57) would have on his department. He said he expected an increased workload.

The proposition, which won 64-36 in the Nov. 8 election, allows for the early release of prisoners sentenced for nonviolent crimes. Paoletti said voters may not have been aware that the measure also changes the definition of some violent crimes, including commercial burglary and the rape of an unconscious person, and reduces them to misdemeanors.

“We’re emboldening the criminal element,” Paoletti warned.

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.
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31 Responses

  1. Matthew Meyer says:

    I recommend that Chief Paoletti and other local officials look at what NIDA has reported about the effect of legal cannabis availability on the rates of opioid use and overdose death:

    “The most striking finding was that legally protected marijuana dispensaries (LMDs) were associated with lower rates of dependence on prescription opioids, and deaths due to opioid overdose, than would have been expected based on prior trends.” https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2016/05/study-links-medical-marijuana-dispensaries-to-reduced-mortality-opioid-overdose

    We live in an area of exceptionally high (and growing) opioid use and overdose death, while at the same time, most of our local jurisdictions have adopted a “make it go away” policy toward cannabis production and distribution.

    What if permitting increased responsible access to cannabis can help reduce our opioid problem? Why are our leaders not discussing this NIDA-sponsored research?

     

    • Common Sense says:

      So Matthew Meyer ….are you saying that by allowing Cannabis production in the City of  Redding that Opiate Addiction will go down or?….I can see that allowing Dispensaries and Grow Warehouses and taxing them would result in potentially Millions of Dollars in Tax Revenues for the City per year…..possibly fund new Officers on the streets to make the city safer etc…but I am having a hard time with just by allowing this that Opiate Addictions will decrease…I would need to see some more evidence of this…..

      • Rod says:

        Matthew gave facts supported by a link.  Did you read anything in an attempt to assist your hard time believing.  The facts you need are simple common sense,  wherever in America cannabis has been legalized the scourge of opiate usage has dropped…dramatically.  Maybe revisit the headline by Jon Lewis.

        If prohibitionists like yourself, fail to acquire knowledge,  you’ll eventually know nothing.

        Redding is flooding with opiate users, the problem should logically be addressed by humanity.  Sending in law enforcement is a waste of resources.

         

        • Common Sense says:

          Rod…both you and Matthew appear to be right…..  “The most striking finding was that legally protected marijuana dispensaries (LMDs) were associated with lower rates of dependence on prescription opioids, and deaths due to opioid overdose, than would have been expected based on prior trends.”

          So then why is the city of Redding NOT open to bringing in Millions in Tax Revenues And helping Solve the Opioid problem? They keep saying there is not enough money for this and not enough money for more police…..wouldn’t that Help the problems?

          • Rod says:

            Yes that would help.  Our local leaders are afraid of the NIDA statistics.  It provides scientific data.  Our uneducated leaders are still running on emotion.

            There is no answer for our leaders ignorance other than educate yourself.  Learn the facts and uncover the deception.  Nobody needs to extend the war on cannabis, it’s just an old hater’s wish.

             

      • Matthew Meyer says:

        Common, I recommend that you take a close look at the government-sponsored study for which I provided a link.

        Skepticism is welcome, but take a look at the article first.

         

        • Common Sense says:

          Rod….you have brought up some good points….is there a place I can go to gather more information on this topic? What/Where would you recommend I start with my Research on this….it just seems too good to be true….that two of the City’s biggest problems

          (Lack of funds and Opiate Addiction ) can be solved with a simple change of Beliefs……or perhaps that is the problem? No one wants to change their ways of thinking? Is there a website I could go to or?

          I guess the common sense question I would pose then….based on what you have discussed thus far is…..What is the City’s Plan for the Lost Revenue by saying No?…..If you say no …I get that….but if you are saying NO to helping two of the city’s biggest problems…..there had better be a good explanation!! Or I would question if you are indeed looking out for the Community!

          • Rod says:

            Clarity can be yours CS.  Shasta County voted against MJ legalization.  I still haven’t uncovered the exact why we voted so.  Other than to say……Shasta County don’t want no pot revenue.

            We tried very hard, to give our local government added tax revenue.  We tried to teach caring locals how MJ is a savior for addictive personalities.  Not enough people care about the cause and effects of crime income that is required to feed an addiction.  I believe there’s nobody who cares more for our community, than do us lifetime residents.  The newbies here drove the wedge into an otherwise productive beneficial cannabis culture.

            I personally started my own research prior to the internet, around 50 years ago.  You’re on your own schedule.  The main point is….education is absolutely necessary to understand the value/risk balance.  Everyone has an opinion, only a handful of us understand the goodness provided by cannabis.

            We’ll continue to help our community,  our community needs to get smarter.

             

  2. Josh says:

    How are there 1,291 prescriptions per 1,000 residents. That doesn’t seem to make sense. More prescriptions than people?

  3. Rod says:

    Was it something I wrote? no

    Somebody in moderation doesn’t like this conversation maybe?

  4. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    Josh, that’s an interesting point about opioid prescription ratio. The CDC measured prescriptions per 100 people, and comes out with similar ratios. Overall, California has 52 to 71 opioid prescriptions per 100. If we use 100 instead of 1000 with the Redding Police Department numbers, an estimated 130 opioid prescriptions per 100 people. That’s more in line with the use you see in southern states, which is 96-143 per 100. This higher number is almost undoubtedly due to Redding’s older on average population. No doubt some of those pills are on the black market.

    • Rod says:

      Hydrocodone in Redding today retails at the counter for $.60 per pill.

      ”                                                        on the street for $3.00.

      in the Bay Area                         on the street for $8.00.

      Rest assured, the Redding opiate users trade hydrocodone because the profit is huge.  Heroine is considerably cheaper for Redding folks.

      The answer is of course regulated medical cannabis.

       

  5. Karen C says:

    Simple answer would be that some folks are taking more than one prescription.  It happens when no one is paying attention to what is being prescribed.  I miss our long time pharmacist of over 40 years.  He had the audacity to retire.  He caught a few mistakes that were made, he kept a watchful eye.

  6. Grammy says:

    Might also be because we have a high vet rate also.  People who needed money for college, enlisted.  Plus the high Vietnam vat population that moved here from all parts of California because of the affordable housing we have here.  High rate of medication needed to deal trauma and the damage from serving.

    Plus our high rate of aging population.  Easier to throw drugs at an injury that have an operation that will take care of the wear down of the bones.  The government requires you now to have bone on bone damage before they will okay a replacement.  That equals horrible pain.

    On another note…a woman should always clip her purse into the child seat-belts as so as she can find a basket.  If a purse thief tries to grab the purse they will also get the basket.

    Carry your car keys in a pocket. Use your car key to set off the horn honking.  If time take a photo with your phone.  Alert the police so they can access the cameras most parking lots have now as soon as possible.

    When people try and beg, try to sell your something in the parking lot (at Safeway this week some woman was trying to sell Christmas gifts in the parking lot on Pine), be polite but say you do not carry any cash, “No money sorry.”  Short and sweet.  I mean really, who carries it anymore?  No one likes to be treated rudely.

  7. JeffG says:

    Cliff notes:  Crime is on the rise, and RPS can’t, or won’t, do anything to curtail the increase.  You’re on your own Redding…

    • JeffG says:

      I’m sorry, the more I think about it, the more Paoletti’s “blame the victim” strategy chaffes my willy.  Perhaps this is Paoletti’s solution to Redding’s rape crisis?

       

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      In fact, if you look at the chart from Chief Paoletti’s presentation, it’s not clear that there is a trend toward increasing crime.

      Different categories are up and down in mixed fashion, and all the numbers are within a few percentage points of their five-year peaks (with the possible exception of rapes). Just looking at the year over year numbers doesn’t make a trend.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        There are definitely increases in vehicle break-ins and mailbox looting—heroin addicts seem to go for the lowest of the low-hanging fruit.  If you don’t want to carry them, put your valuables in the trunk or some other place where they’re not clearly visible to smash-and-grab artists.

        • JeffG says:

          Steve, he specifically said NOT to lock things in your trunk — that thieves are watching the parking lot and will wait for you to go inside the next store before breaking in to your car.

           

          Women are directed to bring their husbands shopping and have the men carry everything.  again, such modern policing…

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Whatever, Chief P.  We’ve had two smash-and-grab vehicle break-ins in the past 6 months—both were opportunistic.  The last involved my daughter driving from her work to meet us at Woody’s for dinner.  She left her work laptop and some other electronic devices in the car—it’s not practical to walk into a restaurant with your arms full of equipment, especially when you also have a little kid to carry.  I don’t think it would have happened if she’d put the stuff in her trunk.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            BTW, Chief, I need two hands to count the number of vehicle break-ins that have happened to people I know this year in Redding. All except one involved a smashed window. None involved popped trunks.

      • JeffG says:

        Violent crimes are up (assault & rape) and I know anecdotally that many people aren’t bothering to call the police anymore over smaller property matters (something Paoletti addressed, suggesting an expanded online police reporting system).

         

        But while he live streams on facebook and wears a smart watch, his ideas are otherwise neolithic.  Might as well be Chief Paleo-letti…  Community outreach programs are down (things like the car seat program), staffing is still below peak levels, and he’s squandering his budget buying vehicles that are $5,000 more, get 15% worse fuel mileage, go through more expensive tires, are heavier & slower — and if that wasn’t burning enough money, he’s rotating them out of the fleet 33% sooner.

         

        So what is a concerned citizen, with a limited budget of his own and two young daughters, to do?  Be like my best friend, who just pulled his 5 & 8 year-old girls out of ballet and put them in martial arts.  Sad…

  8. Jon Lewis says:

    You can watch Chief Paoletti’s full presentation on the department’s Facebook page. It’s about 90 minutes and production credit goes to Michael Flanagan with the Shasta County Arts Council: https://www.facebook.com/ReddingPD/

  9. cheyenne says:

    The National Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a lot of charts on opioid use.  California ranks 50th lowest in opioid use, 49 states led by Alabama have higher rates of opioid use.  Colorado is 40th.  In fact they say opioid use in California increased 0% from 2013-2014, latest stats.  The only two states in the West that showed significant increases were North Dakota and New Mexico.  Other than a few southeast states the significant increases in opioid use was mainly in the rust belt states and the northeast led by Maine, figure that out, that showed the greatest increase in the nation.  Like all studies there will be pockets of areas that do not conform to the state’s overall conclusions.  MMJ has been legal in California for twenty years and this could be why the state ranks lowest in opioid use.

  10. Rod says:

    Here’s an opinion piece, written by a well published author, describing the hang-up between people over cannabis.  Why the divide exists appears to be lost in the battle.  What is the struggle about?  God only knows.

     

  11. Common Sense says:

    Rod in another article on that site you mentioned  (  http://hightimes.com/culture/did-god-give-us-weed/ ) it talks about Christians have the most problems with Cannabis/Marijuana. That doesn’t make sense to me as in the Bible the following can be found…

    Genesis 1:29—”And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.’”

    Sooooo…..I read this to mean all.…..as in every…..so if God gave us those Plants/Seeds….how can a Christian say they are terrible?…Unless they only believe Parts of the Bible?
    A few chapters later in Genesis 9:3 we get:
    “And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”
    Again, it is pretty hard to see how any Christian could argue that God didn’t create weed for us after reading this article on that site you mentioned…..

    • Rod says:

      Good comprehension CS.  It doesn’t make sense to me either.

      It seems that ALL guides written for the religious to use as a rulebook,  are subject to interpretation.  We seek updates and new meanings according to who is preaching that particular day.  That might sound progressive and intelligent alright, just don’t ask for continuity in gospel.

      There are in existence, several books of the time period of the old testament,  which refute numerous facts based on faith.  Editorializing and rewriting of  the original testaments rendered our new testament.  I’m not convinced our version is of much value due to man-made changes.

      It’s easy enough to agree however,  cannabis is discussed in the good light of being an aid for mankind.  Somebody perverted the word of God and modern American Christians like the new subjective version.  I have no idea WHY we tolerate man’s definition of what’s holy.

       

  12. Common Sense says:

    Well Rod….I must say……you have opened up my eyes on this topic!……I feel a bit silly thinking how I judged this Plant for so many years without doing ANY research!  I just listened to what others told me about it and believed that……..here is an interesting article from Canada!

    Is shows you guys are correct when you said it could help the Opiate problem!…..I guess the only thing left is for people to start doing their OWN research now?