Santa Cruz Makes National News For All the Wrong Reasons
Should we be proud or horrified here? I honestly feel angry and ashamed. Nobody in the country coddles their junkies better per capita than we do here. And now our “dirty laundry” is spread out on an open stage in the INTERNATIONAL media with a recent story on the plague of dirty needles in our communities. It’s a big story that the Associated Press just released, which means if ABC, CBS, and NBC picked it up, all of their hundreds of affiliates picked it up and ran the story with them.
What a sad, miserable, pathetic program this has become. Even the Grand Jury thinks so.
Hugh’s been off this month while the city council is “on break”. But his opinion isn’t off this week. – BD
It’s raining sharps! Hallelujah it’s raining sharps! Well people Santa Cruz has made international headlines again. If you have not yet read the AP story “It’s raining needles” please do so. It is international news. A paper in Taiwan picked up the story. People when Taiwan is calling you out on a pollution issue it’s time to pay attention. But needle pollution is not news to most of us here in Santa Cruz. Many of us have found needles, have friends that have, know someone who is drug addicted and using needles, some of us volunteer on clean ups and find them, some of us know people in recovery and have heard stories about how it all started with a back injury and pain killers and within a year the person was hopelessly addicted but were blessed to get into treatment years later. The list can go on and on. There are people of course that have no clue what’s going on and then there are those that are either in denial or think it just simply isn’t that big a deal. There are those who have said the needles are not a risk to the public. County health officials have even claimed as much! Unless of course the needles arrive at the Syringe Services Program on Emeline and then suddenly the needles are deemed hazardous waste and they must comply with OSHA and the health care workers cannot count the needles they must be weighed. Addicts bring in a sharps container which gets weighed and then 30 clean needles are given back to them. Because addicts are so trustworthy, surely they wouldn’t throw a bunch of dirt at the bottom of a sharps container and put a few needles on top right? Surely they wouldn’t give some bullshit story about someone stole my used needles or the cops took them right? Oh and then there’s the whole kit that comes with the needles. The sterilized water, the tie off, a cooker, alcohol wipes and directions on how to shoot up. Brilliant! All that is missing is the connection’s phone number. I do understand this is about disease prevention and I can get behind a true 1 to 1 exchange but that is not what this is. I am also curious how a tie off prevents disease. So let’s talk about combating needle litter. The city employed additional staff to do clean up along the levee and in city parks several years ago. There are volunteer groups. The Leveelies that have worked tirelessly for years, Save Our Shores, Coastal Water Commission and others. Is the County employing anyone to participate in the cleanups? According to a recent Grand Jury report the answer is no. So they are handing out all these safe injection kits, people are finding needles, empty sterilized water capsules, tie offs and cookers and the County is not helping with cleanup efforts. City workers and volunteers are cleaning it up. I have to ask why? What is so difficult about being accountable? Some will say “safe injection sites” are the answer to the needle litter problem. People pushing for safe injection sites will say “studies show” But I haven’t seen one of those studies include the voice of the people that understand all of this best. Not one. Why aren’t these studies including the voices of recovering addicts? Just about everyone knows someone in recovery and I invite all of you to ask them how they feel about about safe injection sites. AB186 is looming people. Safe injections sites may start popping up in CA at anytime. How about instead of investing millions of dollars for safe injection sites we invest millions of dollars for more treatment centers? What would you rather have on your block? A treatment center or a safe injection site? How do you want your tax dollars spent? Keeping people sick or helping them heal? Not every addict that enters treatment will get clean, they have to want it but if the beds aren’t available they have very little chance.
Shooting on Ocean Street Near Barson
Sunday night around 9PM, I got reports of a shooting in front of the Little Caesars on Ocean near Barson. Reports I got were that 3 shots were fired and there was one victim, a 27 year old male who had a gunshot wound to the stomach. The suspects were reported to be 2 Hispanic males driving a black Honda. An All County Project ROPE was initiated on the suspected vehicle. The shooting appeared to also be gang related. The victim was air lifted to a nearby trauma center. He suffered from multiple gunshot wounds and was last listed in critical condition.
Early Morning Shooting on Pacific Avenue
Sunday morning around 2AM, reports came in about a shooting on the 700 block of Pacific Avenue. Witnesses described a male victim who was shot in the neck and transported to the hospital by a bystander. SCPD investigated the crime scene, which appeared to be in the parking lot behind the Saturn Cafe. I also heard the victim staggered into the Card Room looking for help after he was shot in the parking lot across the street. A different team from SCPD made contact with the victim when he arrived at the Dominican emergency room. The 33 year old victim was apparently shot in the neck. He was also reportedly uncooperative, intoxicated and refused to provide SCPD with any suspect description. He was flown out to a Bay Area Trauma Center for treatment. No suspects, no arrests. No mierda.
Early Morning Stabbing on Pacific Avenue
Sunday morning around 3:30AM (just an hour and a half after the above downtown shooting occurred), an SCPD Sergeant was patrolling near Soquel and Front Streets and witnessed two black males fighting near Plaza Lane. When he stopped to intervene at the scene, one male ran through Plaza Lane. The other male pointed to the fleeing man and told the officer “He just stabbed me.” before collapsing. SCPD chased the suspected stabber around downtown with multiple units. They first had him at gunpoint at Union and Squid Row, but he somehow managed to escape before being stopped again and arrested at gunpoint in the downtown library parking lot. No word on the victim’s condition, who was transported to Dominican by ambulance to receive medical attention. Further investigation revealed the 22 year old male suspect is on active parole with two confirmed felony warrants for his arrest. SCPD arrested the suspect for assault with a deadly weapon. He’s also been arrested 11 times locally since 2013.
Man Shot in the Face in Ben Lomond
A man was shot in the face around 5:45AM on Thursday morning after an argument escalated on the 8400 block of Hihn Road in Ben Lomond, according to reports from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office. Deputies are currently searching for 28 year old Austin Combs, a resident of Ben Lomond, as the suspect. The victim was transported to a local hospital with non life threatening injuries, and deputies said he is expected to survive. There is currently a warrant for Combs arrest for attempted murder.
Fight at the Sobering Center!
Sunday night around 11PM, a male was brought in to the “sobering center” (basically the “drunk tank”, but it’s not jail, it’s that little old house next to the jail) by Harbor Patrol. He apparently got belligerent and started fighting with other people trying to sober up. SCPD responded and met with Harbor Patrol, who took the guy to jail.
He’s been arrested 63 TIMES IN THE LAST 4 YEARS! This guy has an unlimited rides pass for the County Shuttle™. Edit: Make that 64 times. He was arrested again yesterday.
Woman Dies After Falling From Davenport Cliff
Monday afternoon around 4PM, firefighters responded to a cliff rescue at Davenport Beach. According to reports from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, a 20 year old woman from San Jose fell about 100 feet down a cliff. Apparently, she was standing about a foot from the edge of the cliff looking over at the ocean when the ground gave away and she fell down the cliff. Harbor Patrol was dispatched to aid in the rescue effort. In addition, three witnesses on the beach tried to lend aid, and an air rescue helicopter was sent to assist. When a water rescue team reached the victim on a isolated stretch of beach, she was still talking and moving. She was lifted into a helicopter but died before reaching a trauma center.
SCPD’s Neighborhood Enforcement Team Works Ocean Street
While patrolling on Ocean Street this past week, SCPD’s Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET) spotted suspicious behavior near a truck, where at least three people appeared to be buying and selling drugs behind a local business on the 500 block of Ocean Street near Soquel Avenue. A 38 year old man from Soquel, a 34 year old man from Boulder Creeek, and a 25 year old woman from Clearlake Oaks were all arrested for warrants and drug related charges after they were all found to be in possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Two of the suspects were also in possession of a number of stolen passports, ID cards, and social security cards. One credit card, in particular, was used in the last 48 hours on the west side of Santa Cruz. They were booked on additional felony charges.
Car Burns on Highway 17
Sunday night around 10PM, there was a car on fire along Highway 17 northbound near Granite Creek road in Scotts Valley. It made a mess of traffic with all the people from over the hill trying to get home on a Sunday night after a long day at the beach. Hopefully none of you got stuck in it.
Man Beats Up Girlfriend on Pearl Street
Around 4AM on Sunday morning, reports came in that a male was beating up his girlfriend on the 200 block of Pearl street. The suspect was “known to be violent, with a good likelihood he’s armed”. Can I get some ICE here? Can I get less “known to be”? Can I get less “good likelihood”? Can I get less familiarity and more riddance? Seven units were sent to the scene, 5 from SCPD and 2 from SO.
It’s Your Weekly Bum Fight!
This week’s bum fight comes courtesy of a male transient and a female transient, who were physically beating each other up along the levee near Ross around 4PM on Saturday afternoon. Apparently, the male left in a car before SCPD arrived, while the female took off on foot towards the levee.
Tire Slasher Arrested in Midtown
Last Thursday night, reports came in that up to 20 cars had their tires slashed off of 7th Avenue near Alpine. I heard Deputies from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office arrested the guy.
June Crime Statistics for the City of Santa Cruz
SCPD updated their crime statistics with the latest monthly report for June. These numbers only represent the city (not the county).
- Calls for service in June: 9186
- Arrests: 348
- Citations: 297
- Ranger Citations: 93
Types of Crimes
- Rape: 10
- Robbery: 6
- Aggravated Assault: 39
- Burglary: 28
- Larceny: 247
- Auto Theft: 43
- Arson: 4
- Drug Violations: 158
- Intoxication: 99
- Resisting Arrest: 25
Free Friday Concert at the Boardwalk
This week’s free Friday night concert at the Boardwalk features Eric Burdon and the Animals! Shows at 6:30 and 8:30PM.
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