After a few years of experiencing relatively flat crime rates, Elk Grove had an increase in violent and property crimes last year.
Elk Grove Police Chief Tim Albright addressed the situation in his annual report from the police department to Elk Grove City Council on March 9.
The number of reported violent crimes rose from 399 cases in 2020 to 448 cases in 2021, while property crimes increased from 2,390 cases in 2020 to 2,479 cases the following year, according to the report. Albright said Elk Grove is not alone in experiencing an increase in crime and said there were worse numbers in California in 2021.
He said the recidivism contributed to the rise in crime last year in Elk Grove.
The police chief mentioned the vehicle hijacking last December in the Glenbrooke senior community, which was perpetrated by a suspect who had previously committed the same crime in the same neighborhood.
“At some point, (he) was abandoned to once again occupy our city, relapse and create another victim in his path,” Albright said.
He also noted last month’s homicide incident in which a homeless man allegedly stabbed a passing roommate sleeping near a bus stop on Sheldon Road. The suspect reportedly chased a person with a knife before being arrested and later released on bail.
Albright stressed that there is only so much that agents can do while recidivism prevails.
“We have an amazing staff that focuses on addressing those issues, but they are limited by what they can do,” he said. “They make the arrest, they write the report, but it is out of their control at the moment.”
Later at the City Council meeting, City Council member Pat Hume said the legal system does not hold offenders accountable. “What breaks my heart is that it’s not the fault of the men and women who dress up and show up,” she said. “They want to do their job, but there is no system that offers that consequence and holds (criminals) accountable.”
Hume sensed that the “pendulum” in public opinion about crime is moving.
“I think society is waking up a little and realizing that if you don’t want to see them run over, if you don’t want to see a robbery with impunity … if you accept that illegality is not acceptable, then the pendulum will fall backwards.” said.
Regarding specific crime trends, Albright said the city has experienced a decrease in rapes, robberies and robberies. Thefts fell by 10% and thefts by 27%, according to his report. He also noted that the “lion’s share” of Elk Grove’s aggravating assaults remain cases of domestic violence.
Albright mentioned police services that protect victims of domestic violence, including an internal advocate for WEAVE Inc. which directs victims to support services.
“We surround our victims of domestic violence in an attempt to really mitigate (domestic violence) so that it is not repeated in families, but they still continue to produce,” he said.
Elsewhere in its annual report from the department, Albright reported that police responded to more than 81,800 service calls last year. It was also reported that 1,758 arrests were made.
Albright mentioned of the arrests, officers only used force in 57 of those incidents.
“Which is an incredibly low number,” he said. “I know it’s a testament to the professionalism of the staff we hire.”
In the police report, officers carried out 32 forced demolitions and 21 strikes. No use of firearms was reported.
With regard to the issue of homelessness in the city, the police have a Homeless Care Team that assists the homeless population in the city. Albright reported that police made more than 900 contacts for homeless people last year. He also mentioned that more than 58,000 pounds of garbage was collected from homeless camps through the city’s incentive program for cleaning up city property.
“People have asked me why Elk Grove seems to be different from other areas when it comes to camps, so that’s what the police chief said about the cleanup program.
The City Council last month received a review from the police department by an adviser and listened to suggestions for improving its work. In his March 9 presentation, Albright said the consultant recommended the incorporation of 27 police officers over the next five years. He also mentioned the proposal to bring in a community attorney from the Sacramento County Prosecutor’s Office.
“An experienced (prosecutor) who lives here inside the buildings and works with our investigators and patrol officers to take those cases that might not otherwise be brought to trial,” as Albright described the role of that prosecutor.
However, the police chief mentioned hiring more police officers and starting new programs would come at an economic cost.
“But I do think it is absolutely necessary that we be innovative now; to fight those problems in a unique way, ”he said.
Later in the meeting, Hume told Albright that he spoke with a staff member in the district attorney’s office who is a former community prosecutor and is interested in working with the city of Elk Grove as his attorney.
Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen also expressed interest in having a community prosecutor. She addressed the police chief’s concerns about hiring costs.
“Even though it has dollars associated with it, we can’t just sit here, knowing what we know and doing nothing,” the mayor said. “Something I look forward to is working with my colleagues and staff as we develop ideas to move forward.”
The March 9 police department report was Albright’s last as Elk Grove police chief. He is retiring this month and will be succeeded in command by Assistant Chief of Police Bobby Davis.
“I’ve had Chief Davis by my side for the past two years,” Albright said. “He’s as prepared as anyone and he’ll do much better than I could do.”
He also thanked the City Council and the Elk Grove community for supporting their staff after they suffered the loss of Engine Officer Ty Lenehan. He was the first officer to die in his service in the history of Elk Grove police when a driver in the wrong direction fatally struck him while driving to work on Highway 99 in Sacramento on Jan. 21.
“We are so humble, thank you very much and remain heartbroken, but we are healing and I just want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support in times of need,” Albright said.
Several City Council members shared their gratitude to Albright for serving as Chief of Police for nearly three years.
“Congratulations on being able to call the final 107, get out of work, go home and lay down your shield and kiss your wife,” Hume told him.
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