Monday, February 09, 2009

Parkway Safety

As the reporting from the Sacramento Bee of this recent shooting in the Parkway reveals, the incidence of crime in our beloved Parkway is of great community concern.

Unfortunately, current Parkway management—and a persistent funding shortage—have been unable to increase Parkway rangers.

Traditionally the public safety issue has been most prevalent in the lower third of the Parkway, from Cal Expo to the confluence with the Sacramento River, but over the past couple of years has moved upriver and this crime’s location is ominous.

We feel that the most significant change that could occur to raise the level of public safety in the Parkway would be to create dedicated singular management of the Parkway through a Joint Powers Authority (JPA).

A JPA would have the capability to raise supplemental funds philanthropically —by creating a nonprofit conservancy—helping provide a dedicated source of funding for public safety, which the current management by Sacramento County has been unable to do.

The Parkway is a signature park with a national reputation and has the capability to enter into this kind of governance and philanthropic fundraising that other parks do not, and it is an opportunity worth pursuing.

An excerpt from the article.

"Despite the recent shooting of a 70-year-old man walking his dogs along the American River Parkway, authorities say the heavily used parkway remains safe.

"But they urge people to take precautions as they enjoy the area.

"The Jan. 31 incident, in which a retired law enforcement officer was shot, robbed and carjacked, is the most violent crime in the parkway since the mid-1990s, when a disturbed young man randomly shot and wounded four trail users over a four-day period.

"The latest incident has sparked increased sheriff's and ranger patrols and the use of plainclothes rangers in some parks, and the Sacramento County sheriff says the very nature of the crime is disturbing.

"I am personally very concerned about this, because that piece of geography represents a sanctuary that people should be able to use without fear of violence,"

"Sheriff John McGinness said. "It's a sad commentary that an innocent guy on the bike trail gets shot walking his dogs."

"Sacramento County park ranger Kathleen Utley said the shooting, at 8 a.m. on a Saturday along one of the busiest areas of the parkway, was highly unusual.

"It's very bizarre," Utley said. "I've been a park ranger roughly 20 years, and I don't believe we've ever had even a carjacking on the parkway.

"I think it's very much an anomaly. At 8 a.m. on a Saturday, Sacramento Bar is very, very busy."

"The Sacramento Bar area of the parkway is near Fair Oaks and Sunrise Boulevard."