To Make Ukiah Safer, You Just Need a Good Idea
Last month, I mentioned that Realty World Selzer Realty is sponsoring a contest that offers a $750 prize to the person who submits the best plan to make Ukiah a safer place to live and work. The deadline for submissions is December 1, so I wanted to give the contest one more plug.
Most of us who live in Ukiah love it here. And many of us who live in Ukiah do not see the violence or the danger that threatens us, unless we are approached by an aggressive panhandler. Transients who come through Ukiah do not consider Ukiah their home, but they bring violence and drugs to our community. I would love to hear your ideas on how to better address this problem.
Dick Selzer said contest submissions don’t have to be essay style. He said if he receives a list of bullet points with great ideas, that’s good enough for him.
"This isn’t a grammar contest, it’s a contest to see who has the best ideas on how to make Ukiah safer, whether that’s more police officers or reducing the need for them,” he said.
Ukiah is not the same place it was twenty or thirty years ago; and when it comes to safety, Ukiah is going in the wrong direction. I really hope some of you consider submitting your ideas about how to make Ukiah safer.
Because I am the police chief, my ideas tend to be about how to make sure we have enough officers to address the calls for service that come in every day—so community members stay safe and officers do, too. I would be thrilled to learn about ways to reduce the load of existing officers, to have fewer calls for service come in.
Right now, Ukiah police officers deal with violent felons, mentally ill people who are a danger to themselves and others, couples who engage in domestic violence, thieves, and others who you wouldn’t want to be close to.
Our officers are trained to be on high alert all the time, so when something goes wrong, our officers aren’t caught off guard. It’s hard to keep this level of vigilance up when you’re tired from working overtime because there simply aren’t enough officers to go around. Our officers patrol without partners, and have for years. If something goes wrong, they call for backup and hope it comes quickly enough.
If you have been thinking about submitting a contest entry, but thought you had to be some kind of brilliant writer, now you know you don’t! It’s really about the ideas. Be creative. Maybe you’ll think of something that triggers another idea in someone else, and together we’ll come up with solutions that cost less and produce more than we’ve been able to so far. Who was the first person to come up with the Neighborhood Watch program? The idea is just plain common sense, and yet it was kind of revolutionary. People in neighborhoods started watching out for each other, talking to each other and law enforcement; and crime went down. What’s the next idea that can be simple, yet effective? What would make people think twice about committing a crime? Why are people committing crimes in the first place?
Some people come at safety by threatening major consequences for illegal behaviors; others try to go upstream to figure out why problems occur in the first place. I think both can be effective.
The deadline to submit ideas to make Ukiah safer is December 1, 2014. If you want details about the competition, you can pick up information at UPD, the Ukiah Daily Journal, or Realty World Selzer Realty. You’ve got nothing to lose. Put your thoughts on paper and you might win $750. Can’t hurt to try.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.