Glen Becerra’s ad in the Simi Valley Acorn this past Friday indicates his appreciation for the Simi Valley Police Department for keeping Simi Valley safe. However, the ad begins with a claim that the Police Union is funding the campaigns of challenging candidates, effectively buying seats on the council, and distorting facts.
The Police Union responded by saying the information in Becerra’s ad was processed for him by the city expediently, unfairly supporting his incumbency, that his ad represents an attack on Simi Valley Police, and included a strong urging to “Vote Them Out!”
Becerra’s ad is a response to the “Ask Any Cop” ad that was originally published in the Simi Valley Acorn last Friday, October 22nd. See the ad below on the left. The ad on the right is Becerra’s ad, which was published yesterday, October 29th, in response.
The “safest city” designation is one of the sticking points in this argument. I can remember being proud of that label. I was younger when Simi Valley was the Safest City, so statistics and the analytical data to back that up were not interesting to me back then. They are critical facts in the argument, however.
The preferred way to judge the crime rate seems to be by criminal activity per 1000 resident, so let’s look at that. In 1982, there were 37.9 crimes committed per 1000 residents in Simi Valley. However, in 2009 there were 17.3 crimes committed per 1000 residents… and that is after two decades of significant growth in the City. In 1982, there were over 1100 burglaries in the City. In 2009, on the other hand, there were fewer than 400. This does NOT represent an increase in property crimes at all.
To look at precise figures, you can turn to the 2009 FBI Crime Statistics Report and the Simi Valley Police Millenium Report. In 2009, Simi Valley had 378 burglaries which is lower than in 1999 when we were the Safest City in America — we had 383 burglaries that year, and a smaller population. Has safety improved in Simi Valley? Considering our burglaries in 1982 were at 1155, it certainly looks and feels that way to me.
It’s unfortunate that this election has become so heated and competitive that these ads exist. Personally, I am proud of this City, proud of our Police Department, and feel that Simi Valley is a safe place to raise my family. Hopefully you all do as well.