Our View: ‘Tis the season to lock your doors
Judging from recent headlines, you’d think this was the season to rob and steal.
The same T-Mobile store was robbed once last month, and a second time this month.
A pair of women were accused of speeding down Highway 49 with no headlights, in the dark, after burglarizing two Glenbrook Basin stores.
Then there’s this week’s home invasion over what Grass Valley police say was a marijuana deal gone wrong.
There’s not much to feel jolly about this season.
Nevada County residents once prided themselves on never locking their front doors. Anyone still leaving their door unlatched does so at their own peril.
Despite the recent high profile crimes, this remains a fairly safe place to live. You can make statistics say whatever you want (we’re looking at you, http://www.roadsnacks.net), but this county is much better off when compared to Sacramento or Los Angeles.
That’s why bigger crimes like robbery affect us to this degree.
We’re at a perfect time to re-examine our community and how it’s policed. Sheriff-elect Shannan Moon emphasized during her campaign the need for a department-wide strategic plan that would be available to the public.
That’s a plan everyone should want to pore over.
Folks like the district attorney, chiefs of police and chief probation officer should want to be included in a strategic plan. The Sheriff’s Office may need a plan of its own, but this community needs one that encompasses all offices that touch law enforcement.
While they’re at it, be sure to address the statewide change in bond that’s set to take effect late next year. This issue promises to fundamentally change the state’s criminal justice system. We should know how it’s going to affect Nevada County.
Arguably, we need some change based on what’s happening in this county. A local judge reduced the bonds for the two out-of-county women accused of the Glenbrook Basin burglaries. In one of their cases a defense attorney said proof of a full-time job for her client was an argument in favor of the lesser bond.
To their credit, both women — now out of bond — appeared Thursday in court. However, that doesn’t change the fact that some people are unhappy because some defendants facing charges make bail and sometimes disappear. Many people get bond — we’re not arguing to lock them all up and throw away the key.
At the same time, Nevada County residents have a right to feel safe in their homes. Proof of a full-time job isn’t a good enough argument to release someone on a lower bond.
There’s no silver bullet to what are very different issues — an increase in robberies, bond amounts, felonies getting reduced to misdemeanors and the jail sentences people serve. That’s precisely why we need everyone at the table.
Our local law enforcement has done an amazing job catching the suspects in these crimes, and they deserve our thanks.
But if we’re to stop these crimes before they occur, we need a holistic approach. Judges, the district attorney, the sheriff and members of our state Legislature — these are all elected officers who answer to us, the voters.
We need to ensure all of them read any strategic plan that comes out of this county, and support the findings that come from it.
Plenty of paths exist for us, both local and statewide. We have a near empty juvenile hall for which our new sheriff needs to find a use. We can urge our state lawmakers to stiffen prison sentences for crimes like robbery.
And we, the voters, can demand our District Attorney’s Office prosecute people accused of these crimes to the maximum extent the law allows.
In the meantime, make sure you lock your front door. It is, after all, the season for it.
Our View is the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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