“Letter to the Community”
Dear Community Member:
As we end 2008 we were once again threatened by an alarming spike in violence the last quarter of the year. As a community we were both proactive in preparing for the violence (through Operation 4th Quarter) and responsive to the violence once it occurred.
Because of these efforts violence is once again on the decline. If we maintain this effort, we are likely to end the year with five (5) murders (4 murders actually occurred in 2008; the fifth murder incident took place in 1997 but the victim died in 2008). This will represent a 29% reduction from last year (there were 7 murders in 2007) and the lowest homicide rate since 2000.
We should also take note that our combined efforts over the past 3 years have resulted in a 42% reduction in homicides and a 20% reduction in overall crime.
Yet, this good news is tempered by the fact that overall crime and violence has increased this year when compared to 2007, and we know that the conditions and root causes of crime and violence remain a significant threat to our community.
We cannot be content with simply responding to spikes in violence. The efforts we witnessed over the past few weeks must be sustained everyday in 2009 if we are to achieve and sustain even greater crime and violence reductions. We must be outraged at 5 homicides – even if it is a reduction. If this is done, I am confident we can achieve the bold goal of “No Murders in 2009”.
Many will question this goal and say it is overly ambitious and untenable. I believe this goal is not only tenable; it is something our community deserves. The motto of the Police Department best describes this goal: “Strive for perfection in order to achieve excellence”.
I believe this effort starts with the “Live in Peace” movement. Only through your involvement can we achieve what we have yet to achieve in our City – a year without a murder. Please get involved.
For more information about the “Live in Peace” movement, please contact One East Palo Alto at (650) 330-7462.
Attached to this email is a report from the Police Department that summarizes our efforts over the past 3 years. It is our hope that this report provides you information to gauge the progress of the Department and its efforts to work in partnership with the community to reduce crime and violence. I believe this report also highlights the outstanding efforts of the dedicated men and women in the Police Department.
Ronald L. Davis
Chief of Police