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1. Santa Monicans United believes the ongoing challenges to our safety must be robustly addressed.  We support:

  • A permanent increase in sworn Santa Monica police officers from the currently authorized level of 228 to at least 250.

  • Streamlined recruitment to ensure all police officer positions are filled as quickly as possible with high-quality candidates.  Vacant budgeted positions have regularly reduced the actual level of employed sworn officers to below 200, which is unacceptable.

  • Adopting policies that are focused on resident and business safety which would include enforcement of all available statutes to discourage illegal and harmful behavior such as applying laws against public intoxication to substance abusers, in addition to laws against open drug use.

  • Prohibiting bans on existing common sense public safety policies such as pretextual traffic stops.

  • Engaging in robust advocacy with the County of Los Angeles to end harmful County policies that negatively impact the City of Santa Monica.

  • Significantly improve the homeless database integrity and data sharing across City departments and police, in line with the recommendations of the City’s internal audit findings to improve the effectiveness of existing resources.

  • Close the beaches and enforced the closure of all parks at night.

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1. Get serious about making Santa Monica safe

With a crime rate of 51 crimes per one thousand residents, Santa Monica has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes - from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. Someone's chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is 1 in 20.  More than 98% of California communities have a crime rate lower than Santa Monica.[a] Among cities in California, Santa Monica ranks 224 out of 230 for safety.

 

The City’s safety posture reflects a city that no longer exists.  Santa Monica’s public security resources and policies have not kept pace with the significant increase in organized criminal activity in, and non-tourist transient migration through the city during the past 20 years.  

To make matters worse, the City’s inaction is leading to an increased use of private security, that only benefits those neighborhoods and businesses that can afford such services, effectively discriminating against all other parts of the city.  

 

In the City of Santa Monica’s 2024 budget, only 7 additional sworn police positions were authorized while 51 other new permanent and temporary positions were budgeted for all other City departments.  

 

Using the Fiscal Year 2024 budget numbers, current sworn police staffing levels will be only 7% (14 positions) above the 2004 level!  

 

The 2004 level had not materially changed from the late 1990s when several of the large hotels had yet to open. 

The result of this is the ongoing decline in real safety for residents and businesses.

[a]https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ca/santa-monica/crime#description

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Santa Monica’s number of budgeted sworn police positions has not materially changed since 2004 while the city’s security needs have multiplied:

  • Props. 47 and 57, which reduced penalties for certain lower-level drug and property offenses, were passed in 2016 which have spurred an increase in crime.

  • Metro Rail opened in May 2016, facilitating in-migration of the homeless population, amplifying the impact of Props 47 and 57.

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The metro rail and buses drops 60 to 80 un -housed individuals every day In Santa Monica.

[a]  LA Metro survey: About 600 homeless riders exit nightly when train service ends

https://www.dailynews.com/2023/04/28/la-metro-survey-about-600-homeless-riders-exit-nightly-when-train-service-ends/

  • The City notes that the composition of the homeless population has 78% with mental health conditions and 75% with substance abuse conditions; there is a huge overlap of individuals with both issues.  

  • LA County rail and bus policies have effectively converted the Metro transit network into a mobile shelter system.

  • Unilateral LA County rail and bus “End-of-Line” policies have created a daily drop-off pipeline unhoused individuals per day into Santa Monica of about 60 by rail[a] and perhaps an additional 20 by bus.  

    • Could potentially add upwards of 8,800 transient individuals to the streets of Santa Monica every year (assuming that only 30% of these disembarkations are new to Santa Monica).  

    • SM’s own (unpublished) Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) indicates the annual flow of transient individuals through the city is in the 6,000 range. 

  • Unilateral LA County “Harm Reduction” policies (the needle exchange program) have been implemented in Santa Monica, effectively enabling (and encouraging) addiction maintenance in the city.

  • LA-based organized catalytic converter gangs now routinely inflict expensive damage to Santa Monica residents and visitors

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