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No Federal Stimulus for San Diego Police

Crime Rate ‘Too Low’


Aired 7/29/09

The low crime rate is good news for people living in San Diego. But it’s bad news when the San Diego Police Department tries to get money from the federal government.

— The low crime rate is good news for people living in San Diego. But it’s bad news when the San Diego Police Department tries to get money from the federal government.

The police department says crime in San Diego dropped about 16 percent in the first half of 2009 compared to the same time a year ago. But that statistic worked against the department when it applied for $28 million in federal stimulus money. Mayor Jerry Sanders says the federal government told San Diego its crime rate was too low for the city to receive any money. Sanders says he’s heard that from the government before.

“And what they always tell us is you have a very small staff, you do an incredible job, you’ve got a low crime rate and we’re going to put the money in other places. And my response has always been you should reward departments who refuse to change and work with the community,” he says.

The police department says crime dropped in most categories, including a 10 percent decrease in rapes and a nearly 29 percent decrease in car theft.

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Avatar for user 'tschaeff'

tschaeff | July 29, 2009 at 6:11 p.m. ― 7 years, 8 months ago

First, as a first-time poster, I want to commend NPR for their coverage of local, state, and national news. I truly appreciate your efforts.

Second, I find it odd that Mayor Sanders (who I believe has done a good job on many issues) is complaining that we didn't receive the federal funding when the city's crime statistics indicate our police department is doing just fine with current funding.

The Mayor, and many others, needs to realize that, just because the government is allocating stimulus money, it does not mean that the money is best spent in San Diego. There are many places which desperately need the cash we are so childishly screaming for.

If this is truly about the police department's funding levels, maybe the Mayor should take a close look at the department's operations. Specifically, I live in Normal Heights, north of Adams ave and it is difficult to miss the near-nightly presence of the "Ghetto Bird." The police helicopter is the most expensive, least effective piece of department equipment yet seems to be a near permanent fixture in my neighborhood.

Perhaps NPR would be so kind as to take a look at the flight logs of the bird and ask just what the scramble-threshold is. In my perfect world, the helicopter would only be used during car chases and situations of fleeing, critically violent suspects where the safety of the neighborhood is in real jeopardy.

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Avatar for user 'sanvin1'

sanvin1 | August 8, 2009 at 4:44 p.m. ― 7 years, 7 months ago

tschaeff- As a free American you are certainly entitled to your opinion but I wander what data you use to determine that the the police helicopter is "the most expensive least effective piece of department equipment"?

You may be surprised to know that your San Diego Police air unit is responsible for taking hundreds of violent and dangerous criminals off of the streets each year, and provides assistance to officers on the ground in hundreds of additional arrest.

Talk to the parents of any small child who experiences the sick feeling in their stomach when then realize their child is missing. While I am not a member of the San Diego Police air unit, I did assist in locating a missing 7 year old child in Bonita last week which was located as a result of a law enforcement helicopter.

Members of the San Diego Police aviation unit have become nationally recognized experts in law enforcement helicopter tactics. What does this mean? It means they are one of the best law enforcement helicopter aviation units in the entire nation!

Try to convince the police officer(s) who was in foot pursuit, of an armed car jacking suspect that the the police helicopter is the least effective piece of department equipment. The suspect fleeing officers went over a fence, then climbed over himself to re-arm himself with the loaded shotgun that he tossed over seconds before (not seen by the pursuing officers). The Tactical Flight Officer, viewing the suspect and the shotgun on his FLIR video, radioed the pursuing officer not to go over the fence after the subject. The suspect is then caught on tape killing himself with the shotgun. Many criminal-suicidal people are more than happy and willing to take a peace officer or anyone else with them on their final trip to destiny.

In 2007 your San Diego Police aviaiton unit won a national award by FLIR for the best arrest in the country using the night time FLIR camera. This was a night time foot pursuit of a wanted felon, that lasted well over 10 minutes, but was taken into custody because of your police helicopter and their expertise, (that is to take nothing away from the hard working officers on the ground.)

I now hear rumors of a "hot prowl" residential burglary suspect that lead San Diego Police on a 20 minute plus night time foot pursuit, a few weeks ago, but was taken into custody due to the incredible work of the pilot and TFO watching and calling out the entire pursuit on their night FLIR camera.

While your can hold tightly to your belief that the San Diego Police Helicopter is the least effective piece of department equipment, you can also know that if you or a loved one is unfortunately effected by a violent crime, you will have one of the best police helicopter crews in the nation coming to help YOU.

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Avatar for user 'tea4one'

tea4one | August 21, 2009 at 11:28 a.m. ― 7 years, 7 months ago

Japanese Embassy Hostage Crisis, Lima , Peru 1997
Charlayne Hunter-Gault discusses the latest moves in Lima with Jonathan Miller of National Public Radio.
'The hostages, of course, have to sleep in shifts during the day, and so the more noise outdoors - helicopter flights are very noisy, they've been going very close to the residence, the more noise they can create during the day, the more difficult it is for the hostage-takers to sleep'

San Diego 2009

The residents of course, after a hard day at work would like to sleep , but the more noise outdoors, helicopter flights are very noisy, they've been going very close to the residence, the more noise they can create during the Day, Night and early hours of the morning , the more difficult it is for the residents to sleep.

The law abiding hard working citizens are been held hostage by the ****'s in the sky, and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.
Sleep Deprived, 92116

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Avatar for user 'ItShouldBeBetter'

ItShouldBeBetter | July 4, 2010 at 9:58 p.m. ― 6 years, 8 months ago

Wow. That was quite the "dressing down" from the helicopter pilot. And don’t get me wrong, there are many functional uses of the copter including search and rescue, and the times when you need to apprehend a violent criminal…. I appreciate this. Really, I do.

But is there a need to circle over my neighborhood every twenty or thirty minutes, all day and all night, whether something is going on or not?

Short of something that requires a neighborhood evacuation, after the criminal has been pulled over, apprehended by car…what warrants the “tight circle” for forty five minutes at 330am on a Tuesday? Mind you, the perp has been caught, there are 5 cop cars parked in the area…and THEN the copter is up there for an hour.

If the craft is actually being used to catch someone, more power to you. But to fly up there for forty minutes AFTER the job is done is wrong… And in my opinion, all they are doing is SPENDING MONEY, so they don’t get shorted during the next fiscal cycle like they felt they were in San Deigo. Hollywood, CA cops use the copters whether they need them or not so they can buy more…in my opinion. Tschaeff is “dead on” in my book.

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