In the months since a widespread public dialogue concerning violent crime on the High Desert began to emerge last summer there have been a number of important developments as the residents of our communities have begun to take on an active role in combating the increase in crime that has afflicted our cities and our region. I am writing to provide residents of the High Desert with an update on these activities.
Spearheaded by Steve Hunt, editor and publisher of The Daily Press, a Facebook Forum Live Event was held on Oct. 2. Because this event occurred in the aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre, a number of local and regional leaders were unable to participate as scheduled. This led to a second Facebook Live Event that took place on Dec. 15 that was attended by Sheriff John McMahon, District Attorney Mike Ramos, Supervisor Robert Lovingood and Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, among others.
Concurrent with these developments, Michael Stevens, president of Stevens Consulting Services, organized a new group called Citizens for Safer Communities. With nearly 70 High Desert residents showing initial interest, this group held its inaugural meeting on Nov. 28 that was attended by 37 community members. From this meeting emerged an eight-member Steering Committee as well as plans to develop a website accessible to all High Desert residents concerned about crime. Prior to forming Citizens for Safer Communities, Stevens became involved with the High Desert Association of Realtors in sponsoring a series of Neighborhood Watch Informational Sessions to be held in each of our cities.
These developments make it clear that our communities are determined to organize to fight back against crime in the High Desert, sending a strong message that those seeking to bring lawlessness to our cities and surrounding areas will meet swift and strong resistance. Over the coming weeks and months there will be additional opportunities for concerned citizens to involve themselves in this effort.
Last Tuesday night at the Apple Valley Conference Center, a Neighborhood Watch informational session was held. Residents of the entire High Desert, not just Apple Valley, were invited and encouraged to attend this important meeting, which was sponsored by the High Desert Association of Realtors and the High Desert Crime Prevention Officers with participation and assistance from the office of Supervisor Lovingood.
On Feb. 26, Citizens for Safer Communities will hold its first informational session at a time and location to be announced.
These organizational meetings are but a first step in formulating and implementing a comprehensive strategy to fight crime on the High Desert. Your active participation is vital to its success.
But reducing crime in our communities will require more than dialogue. A successful crime reduction strategy will require the commitment of significant resources from the public sector, including San Bernardino County, incorporated cities and the state, as well as the investment of time and money by private businesses and community residents.
We must not surrender the communities in which we live, work, and play, to violent criminals who seek to destroy our peaceful way of life. Please join us in our efforts to take back the High Desert for the hard-working citizens who make this a great place to live.
If you have any questions, comments, or would like to be a part of Citizens for Safer Communities, please contact Stevens. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph W. Brady is president of The Bradco Companies and a Victor Valley College trustee.