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NAG discusses parking and police hotline at March meeting

Midtown residents asked Sacramento city staff for a solution to the lack of parking spaces available to renters and owners at Monday’s Neighborhood Advisory Group (NAG) meeting. They complained that business patrons are using their residential spaces.

“As someone who lives down here and can’t park, I have concerns about residential parking,” said Karen Jacques, a member of the Midtown neighborhood association. “We’ve got to have some way (the potential solution) really keeps the business customers out of residential parking.”

Greg Sandlund, associate planner for the Community Development Department told NAG members that his department is actively working toward a plan that will balance the needs of residential parking with commercial parking.

According to Sergeant Mark Chapman of the Sacramento Police Department the Safeway on Alhambra and the Safeway on 19th Street seem to be hotspots for criminal activity. Both stores have the highest calls for service in the area, he said.

Sergeant Chapman also said cameras are set up in the parking lots, and the stores are taking a zero-tolerance stance for shoplifters, panhandlers, drunks, and any other criminal activity.

Sergeant Chapman reiterated that if residents witness any crimes or activity they suspect to be dangerous they should report it by calling the police hotline.

“Believe it or not, (people not calling in activity) is very frequent,” Sergeant Chapman said. He commented that the East Sac neighborhood watch group seems very active, but the police are still not receiving calls.

“We need some systematic way to report it,” Jacques said, adding that when she calls she is placed on hold.

“It’s just to have some way to create a record to report it. We just eat it and replace the broken window…” Jacques said, giving an example of her experience.

Sergeant Chapman told the group that there is a special police unit called the Entertainment Team, and that the only thing it does it police bars.

Vincene Jones, Director of the Neighborhood Services Department reinforced Sergeant Chapman’s initial point. “The squeaky wheel always gets it,” Jones said.

Always call and report crimes, said Sergeant Chapman.

Vincene Jones

There will be a neighborhood watch training meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Police Headquarters at 5770 Freeport Blvd.

Jim Day, security supervisor for SMUD, cautioned NAG members that as the weather warms up, there will be more criminal activity, especially graffiti.

He also drew attention to the ongoing issue with thieves stealing copper from SMUD receptacles and power boxes. Not only is this costing the city thousands of dollars in repairs, but it could also cause power outages, and it is extremely dangerous to deal with.

“People have been hurt, (and) people have been killed,” Day said.

There is a 24-hour SMUD security dispatch team that you can reach by calling 732-5900.

Day said not to confront criminals for safety reasons and to call the police or call SMUD. He said citizens can also feel free to approach SMUD officials if seen out.

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