Sheriff's Lt. James Barnes is a longtime Murietan. Click photo for larger image.
More than 40 neighbors attended last week’s community outreach offered by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department. They got a number of crime-fighting tips and a peek at a new program that could help address nuisance issues in areas like Rancho Murieta.
The number one tip, given the crime reports in this area: Lock your car, and don’t leave valuables in there.
Thursday night’s session was held in the Murieta Village Clubhouse. Nearly all of the attendees were from the Village. The Sheriff’s Department sent a dozen representatives.
Lt. James Barnes, a longtime Murieta resident, opened the meeting and handled the introductions.
He said the department needs to receive reports of criminal activity so its efforts can be data-driven. When they see a hot spot of problems, he said, resources will be applied there. Living in Murieta, he also had some insight into the typical crime issues.
“We understand that a lot of the 18- to 20-year-olds, maybe they’re adults but they’re not (able) to go out on their own yet, they really run out of things to do out here, so they start ... getting into mischief and it creates a nuisance for all of you. And that’s what we need to mitigate and eliminate,” he said.
He said the department wants to work with Rancho Murieta Security to identify and address chronic offenders.
“An idea we’ve come up with, working with our community prosecutors, we’re going to identify what we call our top 10 list,” he said. “The top 10 list is the ones that have been on Rancho Murieta Security’s scale ... we’ll see if we keep getting calls about the same person, Sheriff’s Department responding to the same person.
“Once we’ve identified the top 10, then we’re going to have our officers do what we call an intervention. ... We have county resources to deal with whatever we need to. It also lets them know that we’re now watching. If it continues, then I will come out with the community prosecutor, and we’ll have another sit-down with the family.”
If the crimes continue and escalate, in severity or number, the person would eventually be charged. Under a new program the person could face a choice between trial and entering a rehab program for drugs, alcohol or whatever problem needs addressing.
The district attorney’s community prosecutor for this area, Rochelle Beardsley, said the program, called the Chronic Nuisance Offender Program, is new this month. In a telephone interview Monday, she said it aims to help repeat offenders and to end the problems they create.
“Once they are arrested for one of the qualifying crimes, and they have the background that it takes to be classified as somebody who is a chronic nuisance offender,” she said, “then I would make an offer, which I do on every single case, and it’s called a plea bargain, and you either spend whatever amount of time in jail or you avail yourself of one of these programs that ... one of these county agencies is recommending you’d be a good fit for.”
Darlene Gillum, general manager for the Community Services District, which oversees Security, said over the weekend that the CSD hadn’t yet discussed the "top 10" approach with the Sheriff’s Department.
Detective Matthew Deaux of the high-tech crimes bureau told the community meeting his group sees 200 to 300 new cases a month. He offered tips about how to avoid being scammed.
Don’t give out personal information on the phone. “I don’t know of any businesses that will call you and request your Social Security number,” he said. “That’s something you should never give out.”
Make sure you shred personal documents before throwing them in the trash.
When you write a check in a public place, be careful that someone isn’t able to see the account number on your check.
Don’t carry your Social Security number in your wallet with your driver’s license. “If I have your Social Security number and your date of birth, I can do all kinds of bad things,” Deaux said.
Don’t leave your password visible at your computer. Don’t choose an easy password.
If you get an email from someone you don’t know, don’t open it – delete it. If it’s from someone you know and there’s an enclosure, but this person doesn’t usually send enclosures, call and ask the person before opening the file.
To thwart skimmer devices, which try to capture your credit card or debit card information, Deaux typically grabs the lip of the card input on the machine to make sure there’s isn’t a skimmer device attached there. A skimmer device will pull right off.