Broken Windows, Unruly Crowds

Both scenarios, if allowed in public space, discourage public use; a situation that has been part of the history of Sacramento in the downtown and the American River Parkway for decades.

Perhaps this new effort by the city, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, to restore order in Chavez Park, the potential “gem of the region” and the rest of downtown will match the renewed effort by the County to do the same in the North Sacramento area of the American River Parkway, the potential “crown jewel of Sacramento.”

An excerpt.

“Acknowledging the unique demands of keeping watch over the central city, Sacramento police officials have redrawn their beat boundaries to make the city’s downtown and midtown areas one concentrated command.

“For now, it’s largely a symbolic move. There are no additional police officers assigned downtown as a result – at least not until department officials learn what they’ll reap from a sales tax measure passed by voters last week – nor are there major changes planned for the resources already there.

“But police, business advocates and residents agree the move signals a new commitment to the central city and a recognition of the distinctive challenges that come along with the area’s economic, political and cultural significance….

“The city of Sacramento loves the cachet that is the central city,” said Murphy, a 25-year midtown resident. “It’s good to see they’re putting additional (emphasis) into the city.”

“As police officials wait for word on how many officers the those assigned to specialty teams like the bike and mounted units – spread over three shifts and seven days, not including temporary assignments, vacations and injuries.

“In particular, Bernard and his team have taken an interest in Cesar E. Chavez Plaza, what Bernard and others have referred to as the “front porch” of City Hall.

“The park is perhaps best known for a vibrant Wednesday farmer’s market and crowded Concert in the Park series during summer months. More often, though, the park is inhabited by the city’s down and out.

“Bernard said he is concerned about a large number of probationers and parolees who loiter there and pose a threat to safety. His team regularly makes arrests in the park for drug use, drinking and public intoxication, he said, as well as for outstanding warrants.

“The park should be “the gem of the city,” Bernard said. Instead, “it feels co-opted by people who are intoxicated and have nowhere else to be,” he said.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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