By Karen Brainard
Lower crime statistics, combating drug abuse, and creating more activities for teenagers were topics at the Sheriff’s Citizen’s Advisory Group meeting, led by Lt. James Bovet of the Ramona station on Aug. 22.
“Our crime rate in Ramona is the lowest in 10 years,” Bovet said. He distributed a sheet that showed so far in 2013 the crime rate per 1,000 population is 10.7 while it was 19.5 in 2012.
“The good news is that the numbers are trending low,” he said, noting that in less than a year the crime rate has been cut in half. The goal, he added, is to get the rate below 10. The stats show that in 2003 the crime rate was 18.4 per 1,000 population, dipped to 12.5 in 2007, and then increased again. The types of crime recorded include robbery, burglary, rape, and assault.
Bovet also said the sheriff’s Ramona station is identifying new members in a documented gang in Ramona, and that drug use contributes to much of the crime in the community.
How to stop youths from using drugs was broached by advisory group members Celeste Young, Kim Lasley and Les Brennan. Young emphasized the increased abuse of prescription drugs and said the next Take Back Prescription Drug Day is Oct. 26.
“We really want people to understand they’ve got to get these drugs out of the house,” she said.
Bovet noted that residents can drop leftover prescription drugs, no questions asked, in a box inside the Ramona station.
Lasley, director of the Arriba Teen Center, said plans for a 25,000-square-foot skatepark that would host competitive events to draw people to Ramona and boost business is in the works. The goal is to build the skatepark behind the library at Main and 13th streets, she said.
“We’ve got a world-class designer on board,” said Lasley. A community meeting about the skatepark will be held when plans are more concrete, she added.
The next citizen’s advisory group meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 14 in the conference room at the Sheriff’s Ramona station, 1424 Montecito Road. Bovet encourages members of the community to attend.