Downtown Security Report
A newer wand system has been installed in all parking structures. As officers walk through the structure the wand system is activated and tracks their movements during their shifts. There is a single 8 hour shift at 300 E. Acequia and 222 W. Acequia (parking structures). We change the shift hours as needed to be more proactive when there is increased activity at the Visalia Convention Center and Regal Movie Theatres.
Officer Dominic Mena has been on duty as the Downtown Commercial Policing Officer since December. He is actively involved with the Downtown Security Officers and meets daily with the coordinator. He has begun to schedule training sessions with all the team.
The bike patrol officers carry a devise which logs their movements through the district as they patrol. This system was put into place for the safety of the team as well as to be sure our district was being properly patrolled. If there is an incident or disturbance a report can be generated by the program to pinpoint where the officer was at the time of the incident and we can adjust the frequency of checks in the reported areas.
Security Cameras are being installed on buildings in Garden Street Plaza. The Operations Committee of PBID who oversees all maintenance and security programs, worked with Bike Patrol Security Coordinator Shewman and Downtown Commercial Policing Officer Mena to select the cameras and locations. These cameras are quickly and easily installed and can be relocated if there is a need elsewhere
Downtown Security and the Visalia Police Department Make Arrests
Officers not only keep the peace in the central business district but a large part of their job is acting as downtown ambassadors. This means they must have an extensive knowledge of the restaurants, shopping and services found here along with being able to answer “Where can I get a toothbrush?” for tourists staying downtown.
The Downtown Visalia Alliance has usually refrained from reporting security information to the public because we don’t want it to keep customers from coming downtown. However, the fact is, all cities have a certain number of crimes that happen. It doesn’t mean an area is necessarily unsafe. In fact, it can usually mean quite the opposite. When law enforcement makes arrests this can hamper further criminal activity. This happens when we make arrests downtown and it is especially true for graffiti vandalism. Apparently the word gets around because the number of removals goes down directly afterwards. To the right are three cases from 2009 to illustrate the good work performed by Downtown Security, the Downtown Commercial Policing Program and the Visalia Police Department. Together they have lowered the crime rate and had a significant impact on nuisance crimes such as panhandling, skateboarding in prohibited areas and bicycling on the sidewalks.
Security Incident #1:
Two juveniles from out of town were arrested and a file completed for a series of eight broken windows. The case went to trial.
Security Incident #2:
Downtown Security Bike Patrol Coordinator Shewman completed detailed reports on more than 30 incidences of graffiti and worked in coordination with the Downtown Commercial Policing Officer . The evidence was analyzed and the incidents were found to be attributable to one individual. Property owners were asked to sign papers as victims and agree to appear in court if the case went to trial. This was the first of two arrests made by the Visalia Police Department for graffiti in the same week. The case was won and the Downtown Visalia Alliance was awarded reimbursement funds in the amount of almost $1,000 to offset the cost of the removals. Note: These removals, if performed by a private painting company, would cost approximately $3,500.
Security Incident #3:
Downtown Security responded to three calls for help from merchants who suspected individuals of shoplifting. Bike Patrol Officer Barnhardt responded and was able to question and detain the juvenile suspects in all three cases. The Visalia Police Department was called and the suspects were arrested.