Sunday, September 20, 2009

Parkway Crime

The latest criminal attack in the American River Parkway in the Lower Reach area, as reported in the Sacramento Bee, reminds us once again, that without vigorous enforcement of the illegal camping ordinance and the corresponding broken windows policing approach to that area of the Parkway, crime will continue rendering that area of the Parkway unsafe as it has been for years.

In our annual organizational report from last year we itemized the more dramatic crimes connected to the lack of enforcement of the illegal camping ordinance occurring on or near the Parkway, see pages 37-38.

The formation of our organization in 2003 was to provide advocacy for the entire Parkway, including the Lower Reach area which even then was suffering from wide-spread illegal camping and the subsequent criminal behavior that engendered.

Our first research report in 2005: The American River Parkway Lower Reach Area, A Corroded Crown Jewel: Restoring the Luster, was written to address the unsafe conditions then existing in the Lower Reach of the Parkway and offered suggestions for addressing the issue.

We cannot claim the Parkway as the crown jewel of our region when the lower third of it is crime-ridden and unsafe to venture into.

An excerpt.

“Bicyclist Tom Ward is as elated as a man with a fractured pelvis can be.

“Three weeks ago, the 64-year-old Land Park resident was attacked while bicycling on the bike trail near Northgate Boulevard, in the American River Parkway just north of downtown.

“A youth threw a bike in Ward's path, sending him flying. As Ward sprawled on the ground, his hip broken, the assailant hit him with a pole and threatened to kill him.

"This was just a stunning, vicious attack for no reason other than they wanted to kill me," Ward said.

“Ward doesn't know why he was singled out. But to his delight, he may get an answer soon.

“On Friday, Sacramento police said they had arrested a 14-year-old resident of Del Paso Heights in the attack.

“The teenager was taken to juvenile hall on Thursday.

“Police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said investigators believe the attack was a random robbery attempt.”