Drug abuse is greatest concern | TheUnion.com

Drug abuse is greatest concern

More than a year after a methamphetamine user crashed a box truck into a UPS delivery van, killing the driver, drug abuse is still seen as the most serious problem in Grass Valley, according to a recent poll by the police department.

The Grass Valley Police Department completed its seventh annual Citizen Attitude Survey earlier this month.

“The problems for 2004 are the same problems for 2005,” Police Capt. Dave Remillard said. “The public’s priorities are our priorities.”

In the survey, which was mailed randomly to 559 businesses and residents, recipients rated which crimes pose the most serious problems in the city and listed the areas where the police department should step up enforcement.

The survey’s goal was to rate the level of quality of the service, as well as to help the department determine how best to prioritize its programs.

Thirty percent, or 165 surveys, were completed and mailed back to the department.

According to the survey, 85.5 percent of Grass Valley residents polled indicated that overall public services provided by the department were “good” or “excellent” – a 0.6 percent decline from 2004 and about a 6 percent drop from 2003.

In 2004, police said the January fatal crash reportedly caused by meth user Scott Krause was the major reason why residents said drug abuse was the most serious problem in the city. That year, the percentage of residents concerned about drug abuse rose from 56.5 percent to 78.4 percent. This year, that percentage of voters dipped slightly to 67.1 percent.

“Drug abuse gets a lot of media attention,” Remillard said. “Plus, a lot of people have had contact with or know people who have been affected by drugs.”

As in 2004, respondents this year said the second most serious crime in Grass Valley was burglary.

“Many are victims of theft in some way or another,” Remillard said. “These crimes weigh heavily, and when people get the chance to let police know, they take it.”

Respondents’ indications of domestic violence, vandalism and alcohol abuse as serious problems dropped slightly over the past two years.

The only category showing a significant increase as a serious problem was sexual assault, which rose from 13.8 to 18.8 percent of respondents since last year. Remillard said that the constant media attention to this type of crime is the reason why the public has been increasingly concerned about it since 2002.

In a section dealing with what enforcement services the department should improve, the overwhelming majority for the third straight year cited drug enforcement and crime prevention.

Crime concerns

Following are results from the Grass Valley Police Department’s annual Citizen Attitude Survey, which asks respondents which issues they feel are serious crime problems:

Problem area 2005 2004

Drug abuse 67.1 % 78.4 %

Burglary 38.5 % 38.4 %

Domestic violence 35 % 36.4 %

Vandalism 32.3 % 32.9 %

Alcohol abuse 28.5 % 35 %

Source: Grass Valley Police Department

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