By Matthew Selman
For decades, civil unrest between the population and the police force has been a leading issue within communities. Vallejo, a historically dangerous city, has had an exceptionally low police to citizen ratio since the early 1980’s. While Vallejo’s population and crime rate is gradually increasing, the Vallejo Police Department population is rapidly decreasing. Officers aren’t being dispatched to dozens, sometimes hundreds of calls each night. It leaves the community wondering, what is happening?
Every night there are hundreds of calls to emergency services asking for police intervention. Calls ranging from needing help between a domestic dispute, all the way to someone being shot on the side of the road. For example, on August 17, there were 150+ phone calls that were not broadcasted on the police scanner. According to Vallejo Crime and Safety, a publication committed to reporting crime all around the city, there were multiple shootings reported on the 17th alone. At 2:43 PM, a woman was shot at, while driving down Springs Road, the woman was able to flee the area without any injuries. Just 13 minutes later another shooting was reported on Stephan Street, the details to this shooting have not been disclosed. The amount of felonious crimes make it difficult for on-duty officers to show up to all offenses.
This problem is only getting worse, according to Police Data Initiative, there are only 108 police officers protecting a city of more than 120,000 people. This data proves that Vallejo is not getting the protection it needs. Even when police officers are dispatched, the community does not respond well to them. Vallejo residents have been extremely vocal about their distaste for local police. For those who live in relatively safe towns, the relationship between police and people is tolerable. The distrust of the VPD comes from valid feelings. Police in Vallejo have abused their power, and used their important place in society to personally benefit themselves. This oppression has not gone unnoticed within the city, VPD seems to put all of their resources toward the wrong thing. They are quick to pull someone over for running a red light, quick to shut down side-shows, but when there’s a burglary, they are nowhere to be found. Why should people support police when it seems they do next to nothing when it comes to crimes with a victim? The Vallejo Police Union blames the Chief of police for a large portion of these issues, a spokesperson for the VPU says the Chief has, “unethical practices and has failed the community for this failed leadership.” The Chief of Police is not solely responsible for what is happening in Vallejo, the entire community and police department are responsible.
Both the people, and police of Vallejo need to do their part. The amount of high level crimes that aren’t investigated are unacceptable. The VPD needs to do their part just as much as the community. For starters, the department could put their efforts toward the root of the problem. If police spent their time talking with the community and learning the tendencies of the city, crime would be lower. The community needs to do their part just as much. If people put their trust back into the police, the police could feel a real responsibility to protect their people. In the past trusting the police was a poor choice, the people were failed. As crime continues to go up, it leaves the city with nowhere to turn. Vallejo Native’s are uprooting their lives and leaving because of crime levels. It is time for the people to put their trust into the right mayor, and new, younger elected officials.
Vallejo’s police department has been corrupt and oppressive for decades, and crime has been a consequence of that. Crime levels are rising and there is no end in sight. It is now up to the people to make that change. If everyone does their part, Vallejo can become the beautiful city on the straight it once was. Thorough investigations on crimes with a victim, instead of using all their resources for victimless crimes. The community can’t support a department when they are protecting the city in all of the wrong ways. It’s ironic because the police worry about public image, and will do whatever they can to stop a side show, but don’t investigate burglaries and first degree murders. As a community everyone needs to take a step back, and think about the place they want to live in.