I started StabSantaCruz a little over 8 years ago. The idea was born after a week of multiple stabbings in Santa Cruz caught my attention and I thought a site with an odd name would bring attention to the problem. The following year, with the help of local law enforcement and news agencies, we documented over 70 stabbings in a 12 month period. That number has dramatically dropped, year after year.
After 8 years of posting information about all types of local crime, I’ve come to the realization that Santa Cruz is moving in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, I see the level of crime getting worse and the quality of life for its residents decaying.
The daily crime posts on Take Back Santa Cruz facebook page and other community pages is depressing. The lack of information from news agencies, all located outside of Santa Cruz, is pathetic. The endless stream of transients and property crime is horrible. The out of control cost of living is breaking the city and the mind numbing traffic is driving business out. This year has been the year of shootings. Three of the four murders this year were shootings (Cause of death of a body found just this week off of Market St. is still under investigation)
Dear Santa Cruz residents, this isn’t normal. You shouldn’t work so hard to be safe. Communities all over the country, the size of Santa Cruz, are not dealing with this level of crime and stress. Your local government is failing you. Ask any of the current city council members what their biggest accomplishment has been. You won’t be impressed. The new batch of candidates running for office don’t seem any better.
Some locals have reached out to the Guardian Angels to create a patrol in Santa Cruz. It won’t help. The crime will continue because the environment is ripe for criminal activity.
The amount of calls for service handled by Santa Cruz County law enforcement is astonishing, over 200,000 per year. The cost of transient crime and the revolving court system doors will keep growing. Criminals from other cities recognize this, they come into Santa Cruz and take advantage of the mess. It’s easy to do.
Solutions so far have been unrealistic. Rezoning the Ocean St. corridor to allow large apartment complexes and hotels will suffocate the main artery into Santa Cruz and create low income/high crime neighborhoods. The needle exchange program does not work. Needles are everywhere in Santa Cruz. Nothing has been done to slow the number of transients and illegal camping sites.
I’ve heard many ideas to reduce the rate of crime and high cost of living in Santa Cruz. I don’t believe any of it will work. I’m not here to suggest solutions, I truly believe the city’s culture and philosophy is dangerous and destructive and will prevent any true solutions from being successful. Santa Cruz continues to pretend to be something it’s not.
I’ve lived in the Santa Cruz area since 1993. Over 9 years on Lower Broadway. I teamed up with the neighbors and we fought to clean up the area. We watched over each other’s homes and contacted the police as soon as anything suspicious occurred. The crime rate dropped. We knew we were making a positive change. But it was a constant struggle. As soon as we let our guard down, something terrible would happen. It takes a lot of energy and resources out of a community to fight crime.
A few years ago, a new property management company (CIF Property Management) took over my lease, I was given a 60 day notice to vacate. My lease was way below the current market rate. Replacing me with a new tenant at a higher rate made business sense. Luckily my wife and I were in a position to buy our own place. In Santa Cruz, not a chance. Why should we pay the high cost of housing and deal with all the crime, traffic and stress. We went south and currently live peacefully in Monterey County.
My small startup business grew from my converted garage bedroom on Broadway to a location on Mission. I added several employees. But the constant crime around our business (burglaries, a carjacking and a murder) put me on edge. I started escorting my crew to their vehicles at the end of their shifts. Then there are the needles. The endless discovery of dirty and uncapped syringes stashed in our landscaping and thrown on the sidewalk. So, when my lease was up for renewal, I quickly took the opportunity to move our growing business south to Watsonville.
Here I am, living outside of Santa Cruz County and running our shop in the business friendly city of Watsonville. No more traffic. No more transients breaking into our cars. No more syringes.
I’m no longer a part of the Santa Cruz community and feel it’s appropriate to shut down StabSantaCruz and focus on my family and business.
Thank you for the support and hate emails. Thank you City Council members for treating me like an enemy and not a voice for reducing crime in the community, your displeasure gave me the fuel to continue all these years. Most notably Council-member Pamela Comstock for calling me a gadfly online, I still chuckle about it. Council-members Micah Posner and Don Lane for calling me untruthful only to have Mr. Posner later fined for operating an illegal dwelling unit in his backyard. And, yes, Mr. Lane, I still believe you were planning to push the homeless camping sanctuary idea introduced by Brent Adams and Stacey Falls (next time you’re stuck in traffic on HWY 1, you can thank Mr. Lane for opposing the 2004 measure that would have widened the freeway). Thank you to the community for sending me breaking news info on everything from car chases to assaults as they happened. Without you I would have missed the majority of crime incidents. But most of all, Thank you Ken Vinson for showing me the true meaning of courage and the power of friends and family.