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Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

City council votes to extend Safety Enhancement Zone

With Picnic Day coming up, the Davis City Council is planning ahead to keep things under control with the re-establishment and extension of the Safety Enhancement Zone.
Last year, city council established a safety zone during Picnic Day, with the borders drawn around Downtown Davis.
Within this zone the penalties for violations of certain municipal codes, such as public alcohol use, were increased in order to discourage such behaviors.
“We worked hard last year to keep things under control and for the most part that happened,” said Deputy City Manager Kelly Stachowitz. “We want people to have a good time, but stay safe and respect businesses and property.”
At the city council meeting on Feb. 21, the city council approved the same Safety Enhancement Zone as 2011, with an extension to include the Old North Davis neighborhood.
“The new zone is pretty much the same, but it now includes a rectangle bordered by Fifth Street, Eighth Street and Anderson,” Stachowitz said.
The safety enhancement zone created a sense that people felt safer downtown in 2011 than in 2010, stated the staff report from Feb. 21. However, as there were still around 150 citations, the report stated, “We still have considerable work to do.”
“Our main problem is folks that come into Davis specifically for Picnic Day,” Stachowitz said. “They mostly want to be downtown, and the farther away you get, the less likely they are to be interested.”
Some residents of Old North Davis felt that the old safety enhancement zone did not address misbehavior that was taking place in their neighborhood.
Steve Tracy, president of the Old North Davis Neighborhood Association, came forward at the council meeting in order to address the association’s qualms with the old zone.
“The safety enhancement zone reduced citations and improved behavior downtown,” Tracy said. “This didn’t work in Old North Davis. People arrived in the morning, drunk and belligerent, ready to cause trouble. This went on all day long.”
When Tracy announced that he would be taking the association’s issues to the council, he became buried in e-mail accounts of debauchery in Old North Davis.
“To simply renew the old boundaries was not acceptable for us,” Tracy said. “We need the area saturated with police sufficient to keep the problem from getting out of hand in the first place.”
Lt. Paul Doroshov said the Davis Police Department is still deciding where and how to deploy its officers.
“We’re short on resources, and we’re going to have to prioritize,” Doroshov said. “We’re going to deploy our officers where first and foremost there will be the most issues.”
The focus will, therefore, remain downtown.
“The central core is where our statistics have always shown that’s where we’ve had our primary issues with public drunkenness and fighting,” Doroshov said.
“We do keep an open mind throughout the operation,” Doroshov said. “If other things start materializing, we have plans to deal with problems as they arise.”

EINAT GILBOA can be reached city@theaggie.org.


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