Chief Lanning Fields Citizen Concerns

LEMON AVENUE -- La Mesa Police Chief Alan Lanning conducted a neighborhood meeting at Lemon Avenue Elementary School Wednesday night. He fielded kind questions from an apparently satisfied audience and used the opportunity to encourage residents to collaborate more closely with police on problems affecting the neighbhorhood.

Several residents brought up concerns about flagrant traffic violations by drivers along the main throughfares. Lanning said the department has six dedicated traffic/accident officers who are always looking for guidance from the community on which areas of the city need special attention.

"We have key areas we all know about and we spend a lot of our time there,'' Lanning said. "But we rely on members of the community to tell us when there are a stream of traffic violations occuring in the city as well. We will respond and check these areas more closely.''

Several residents asked about recent crimes -- robberies along Spring Street and concerns about safety at Grossmont Center after several recent bank robberies and purse snatchings there.

Lanning acknowledged recent crimes but also pointed to statistics that showed robberies in general and crime  in the Grossmont Center area specifically is, in fact, at twenty year lows in the city.

Lanning said La Mesa is particularly open with the media about all crime in the city and he thought the recent proliferation in local news outlets, like, have made crime reports more accessible.

Larry Savoy, assistant director of security for the Metropolitan Transit System (pictured right), also attended the meeting and fielded a few questions, explaining how trolley security is beefed up for Padre and Charger games. La Mesa  has four trolley stops within city limits and often has parking and crowd-control impacts when fans head to and from local sporting events on the rails.

City Councilman Mark Arapostathis also attended the meeting and encouraged citizens to access the city's Nixle communication system to get better, more current city information on-line:

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Tags: Crime, Government


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Comment by Gregory Spire on February 25, 2011 at 12:56pm
I agree David.  We cannot expect the police to be around every minute.  We as La Mesa citizens need to be part of the solution.
Comment by David Stanley on February 24, 2011 at 12:05am
During my working years I attended and conducted countless Community Meetings representing the San Diego Police Dept. Sad to say, they were all alike, undoubtedly like this meeting. Seldom was anything accomplished apart from a "feel good" session. Members of the audience would ask inane questions, having little bearing on crime in the area. Lots of skateboard and traffic questions but seldom anything meaningful. I would, unlike many other reps, advise the groups about the real problems and certainly not sugar coat the problems with watered down stats and insist that the crime picture was looking better. It was not and it is not. These stats presented to these community groups are to placate and nothing more. People dont care about them. They really want to know what you are doing about the armed robberies, the purse snatches, the violent things. There were the polite inquiries about "Community Alert" programs in the neighborhoods. At each meeting I would tell them how thinly spread were police units in the areas and how unlikely captures and arrests were. This owing to the "reactive" rather than "proactive" use of manpower. I would emphasis that nothing could be accomplished unless THEY get "Mad As Hell". The community has to be the eyes for the police because of the small numbers of police. No, smarmy stats reports accomplish nothing but exposure of the uniform. Those that stand the wall are few in number and those that are guarded must stand up themselves and Make It Happen.  David Stanley

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