Spiraling crime rate linked to Redding budget woes, police cutbacks

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With the Sacramento River running peacefully through the city, Redding, California seems to be an idyllic place to raise a family or start a business. Unfortunately, the calm exterior also hides a rising crime rate.

County Seat for Shasta County

Founded in 1887, Redding serves as the county seat for Shasta County. The city itself has approximately 90,000 people and is fairly evenly split between white and blue-collar workers; Mercy Medical Center and Shasta Medical Center are both located in Redding, as well as Shasta College, the private Christian college Simpson University, and Blue Shield of California.

But in 2008, declining funds from both the state and from tax revenues meant layoffs for city employees. By the end of 2011, the city had 22 fewer police officers than it did in 2007, when it only had around 77,000 people; the city’s non-sworn community service officers were also cut back from 14 in 2007 to four.

Cutbacks cause crime

Because of this and other factors, Redding in 2014 had the dubious distinction of being named one of Time magazine’s 10 cities when violent crime is soaring. There were 1,298 violent crimes in the Redding area in 2012, spiraling up from 851 in 2007. Violent crime rose more than 53% in that time, and property crimes rose by more than 50%. In fact, Redding’s escalating property crimes rate was the most of any metro area reviewed, even though nationwide there was a 12.7% decline.

Crime has risen so much in Redding that the state of California has given Shasta County another $20 million dollars to construct a second county jail, since the one currently in use has been at capacity or more since 1993. The medium-security facility will have a total of 64 beds and will be constructed in south Redding.

Sometimes even the innocent need bail

For people accused of a crime, circumstances like these can be their worst nightmare. With minimal resources and investigators, even those who haven’t committed a crime may find themselves locked up without the ability to seek justice—not because of police intentionally arresting them to close a case, but because detectives simply don’t have the resources to follow up on all leads in a timely manner.

Luckily, the Constitution provides for reasonable bail when charged with a crime. For those innocent and looking to avoid any type of incarceration, or even those who may have committed the crime, bail means that they will not be placed in an overcrowded facility operating at double its original capacity. A conversation with a local bail bondsman can have someone who has been charged with a crime possibly out in a day or even a few hours. For someone having their first encounter with the justice system, a bail bondsman can be a reassuring presence in an uncertain time.