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Davis

Davis, California

Monday, May 27, 2024

Is small crime in Davis going unchecked?

Davis residents share their perspectives about small crime in Davis

 

By ZOE SMITH — city@theaggie.org

 

Content Warning: This article contains discussions on sexual harassment.

 

On April 29, local bystander Steve Greco witnessed threats of kidnapping and sexual assault yelled from a moving vehicle at a woman walking her dog at the corner of 7th and D Streets. According to Greco, the perpetrator of this crime was a young man in the passenger seat of a dark blue Ford truck. 

Greco took a picture of the moving vehicle and attempted to use the AI technology AVCLabs Video Enhancer to identify the license plate, but the results were inconclusive. He made a police report to Officer Griffin at the Davis Police Department. 

Lieutenant Dan Beckwith has been with the Davis Police Department for 16 years. Beckwith said that this particular incident would fall under California Penal Code 422, a statute that makes it illegal to communicate a threat to someone who could cause bodily harm. Beckwith talked about the investigation process that goes into incidents like these. 

“When we get calls from services like that we tend to do an investigation, go out, take a statement from the person that called us to determine if what they say happened meets the elements for a crime in the state of California,” Beckwith said. “I wouldn’t say that it happens very often in town.”

Greco posted the details of the harassment he witnessed along with a picture of the truck on Nextdoor, an app that connects residents of local areas to spread awareness about current events in the area. Many community members commented on Greco’s post voicing their reaction to the incident, using the comment section to share similar experiences.

One community member, who wishes to remain anonymous, commented on Greco’s post, trying to ID the make and model of the truck. The individual said they have witnessed and experienced this particular type of street harassment countless times. Since moving to Davis in 2016, the individual has reported seeing multiple instances of men catcalling female pedestrians and yelling slurs at people who are part of the LBTQIA+ community. The resident described one of their personal experiences with drive-by street harassment in Davis. 

“There were a bunch of guys, and they had their windows down,” the anonymous person said. “I was with a group of my friends who were also queer […] and a few of them were women. And they were catcalled, someone yelled a slur.”

Lieutenant Beckwith talked about how the police department takes harassment like this seriously as it can lead to more crime. 

 “We document those incidents,” Beckwith said. “Not specific to just queer people, but any incident that falls under any group, protected group. So if it’s a racial thing, perceived sexual bias, religious bias, anything like that, we do document that. It’s not necessarily a crime. We like to keep track of it because a lot of times that kind of stuff could lead to a crime. Which is something we take very seriously.”

Davis RIMS is an interactive tool that allows the public to access local crime data. Davis RIMS shows that the most common type of reported crime in Davis is vandalism, another commonly reported crime is sexual assault/harassment. The anonymous community member talked about whether police take small crimes seriously in Davis.

“That’s hard to say,” they said. “For this example, we have a truck, color [and] a year range — […] it’s all very circumstantial. And then there’s a lot of property crime in Davis, there’s not really anything they (the police) can do about it. Because, simply put, there’s just so much of it.”  

Beckwith talked about the different types of daily reports the Davis Police Department receives.

“We get reports through various means on a daily basis,” Beckwith said. “Some come in through phone calls. Some come in through our online reporting system, with different means of entry. Some are cold, meaning they’ve occurred sometime in the past […] a few hours prior or even days, weeks or months prior people are late to the game reporting. And some are actively occurring. I can tell you that the most common call type is theft, but there are various types, there’s a whole myriad of different types of stuff that we get.”

Jeremy Taylor, a Davis resident, commented on Greco’s initial post that he believes the Davis Police Department puts very little effort into solving small crimes. 

“I once connected the dots of a crime committed against a friend using neighbors’ cameras, wrapped it in a bow and handed it to the police,” Taylor commented on the post. “Don’t assume they’ll do the work on their own.”

When asked further about his opinion of the Davis Police Department, Taylor talked about his concern with small crime in Davis. 

“Every day we hear of a new theft or terrible driving all over Davis,” Taylor said. “The police don’t do traffic enforcement or work to stop small crimes, so it continues.”

 

Written By: Zoe Smith city@theaggie.org