Residents of Garden Grove might be forgiven some jitters after the run of murders that took place in and around the city the last weeks.
Crazed people with machetes and drug sellers with transactions gone awry created a picture – at first glance or fear – of a community besieged by a wave of senseless crime.
As bad is it looked, however, the truth is a lot less spectacular and perhaps even a bit more comforting.
That spasm of violence was almost certainly just a blip, an anomaly like your loser uncle who finally hit on a Lotto ticket or when your cousin’s wedding ring fell off, rolled 10 yards down the sidewalk and finally unerringly dived into a storm drain.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Garden Grove City Council, Police Chief Tom DaRe made a report on crime trends in the Big Strawberry that showed that for the first six months of 2019, violent crime was down 7 percent from the same period in 2018, and property crime had fallen 8 percent.
Now, certainly, last year did show a big spike in law-breaking because of a variety of factors. But there are reasons to believe that the trend is moving in the right direction.
Thanks to a one-cent sales tax approved by voters last year, the GGPD is adding 10 more police officers and the new chief is working to leverage that into increased enforcement and visibility.
“You’ll be seeing a lot more police officers,” he promised. Things should get even better and safer.
It’s not just the police who are making strong moves in this area. The Walmart store at The Promenade – Gilbert Street and Chapman Avenue – has finally reacted to public complaints and taken steps to clean that area up.
The RVs that blanketed parts of the parking lot are gone. The homeless that were part of the daily life there are gone. There’s a security guard outside the entrance.
Better late than never. It’s unclear whether the store is responding – a wee bit tardily, me thinks – to local outcry about aggressive and odiferous beggars or to other problems at Walmarts’ nationwide.
Other shopping centers and operators need to step up also. Police can’t arrest loiterers unless property owners make a complaint. Sure, the miscreant might just come back, but if you make the experience uncomfortable, many such nimrods will find greener – or dirtier – pastures elsewhere.
Driving to Tuesday’s city council meeting along Stanford Avenue, as I approached the Village Green Park, I saw that grassy expanse alive with people. Couples walking dogs. Kid soccer teams practicing. Teens flirting under the shady trees.
It was a scene right out of River City, Iowa – with a much more diverse cast, of course. Yeah, we got some troubles here, but nothing we can’t weather. It’s still a good place to live, to grow up and breathe easy. It won’t be long before the weeks just gone fade into a small sour memory and we’re back to being excited about the future of our fine hometown.
Jim Tortolano’s Retorts appears on alternate Wednesdays.
Categories: Garden Grove