Our View: We should reassess our feelings about crime in Nevada County
By this point you’ve likely seen the crime statistics, or at least heard about them at the water cooler.
These stats, showing the level of crime in Grass Valley, Nevada City and the unincorporated county, fail to support the groundswell of outrage toward “high” crime rates that you find on Facebook. In fact, they show a community that enjoys a relatively low crime rate.
With the exception of larceny, which appears to have become somewhat of a pastime here, serious crime is low. Murder, rape, assault — these are all fairly low or falling.
This isn’t to say that we have no crime here. Make no mistake, crime is alive and well in Nevada County, but the fifth most dangerous spot in California, this ain’t.
Why, then, do we still feel that our community isn’t safe? Maybe it’s because we’ve been burglarized within the past few weeks or months. Or maybe we once woke in the dark of night to find someone sitting in our living room, intoxicated and angry.
It’s enough to make someone lock the doors at night.
Statistics showing our cities and county have relatively low crime mean little to the homeowner who’s reporting the latest break-in. However, if we refuse to use stats as a basis for assessing crime in our community, then what are we basing it on? Personal anecdotes? The latest thread on Facebook?
We unlike that.
There definitely is more crime here as compared to 1970. One reason is we have about four times the people living here than we did almost 50 years ago.
More people equals more crime, but that doesn’t mean our crime is out of proportion. Grass Valley had zero murders from 2012 through 2016. The unincorporated county had 12 over the same period.
You’re more likely thinking about leaving this area due to a lack of affordable housing instead of rising crime.
There’s a tug-of-war that’s happening in our community — the statistics pulling us on one side and our personal anecdotes coupled with the echo chamber of Facebook on the other. These forces are vying to influence us, and we must decide which one wins.
Before you do, think about this:
In 1970, you didn’t hop online to read about every buzz on the police scanner. You didn’t learn about every minor arrest or drug bust, and you thought this was a nice place to live and raise kids.
And you know what? Even with that echo chamber, this is still a pretty nice place to live.
It’s no longer 1970 and we must change our daily behaviors. We must lock our cars and front doors at night. We have to remain aware of our surroundings when in public.
This isn’t an indication of our cities and county falling victim to high crime rates, but instead the nature of America in 2017.
If we’re unhappy about this, let’s form Neighborhood Watch groups. Let’s see if we can stomach more taxes for police officers who will walk and bike through our towns.
Social media like Facebook can be the tool that brings us together to achieve these goals. It’s easy to complain and much more difficult to act.
Let’s work together, using new methods of communication to organize ourselves, create Neighborhood Watch programs or a group advocating for more money for our police.
After all, it’s not complaints we really want — it’s results.
The weekly Our View column represents 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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