Is this really the Folsom we are becoming? In broad daylight last Thursday in the shopping centers that contain Lowe’s and Target, there was an armed robbery that led to an assault and tens of thousands of dollars in inventory being stolen.
Material things can be replaced. But it’s not the things that I thought about when I learned of this violent attack. It’s the blatant confidence that these attackers had in order to believe they could drive into the inner sanctum of Folsom and get away with such a brutal felony.
I thought about the two employees who were assaulted and had a gun pushed in their face. Anyone of us could have been in there on a Thursday afternoon. Anyone of our kids could be employed there.
I made the decision to visit the manager of the store to offer condolences and support. The manager and I stepped outside to talk to not upset any customers. He shared his employees experience. I saw the video. I saw the pictures. It would make your stomach hurt. I was stunned. It was fast, aggressive and violent. I commented to him that it was like a scene in a movie. But it’s not a movie. It’s in Folsom and one of the victims had the bruises to show it.
The reality is that armed robberies don’t, or didn’t happen like this inside Folsom. Our perception in Folsom is quickly shifting.
On Friday morning the people in historic district woke up to this lovely camp on the lower 900 block of Sutter Street (see photograph.) Just in time for the media from our region to see it as they reported on opening day of our ice rink. Is this what we want to be known for?
The manager from the armed robbery shared that they have had thefts before. Some from the homeless in the area that sleep on the side of the building and leave their needles behind. But not this violent.
Folsom has a problem and if we wait any longer…well I’m not willing to wait to find out what we will become. This is my favorite city and I’ll continue to fight for the reasons that led us or keep us here.
The truth is there is a solution that will help, but without the votes there will not be any action and this escalation will continue at a faster and faster pace.
Our Police Department is incredible. But they are also incredibly underfunded and frustrated. The department is told to take officers from one area to fill the vacant patrols or the needs in other areas. Leaving everything vulnerable and continuing the decreasing ability to be proactive. We used to be more proactive. We used to be.
Even when the statistics and numbers back up their pleas for support. Even when the public is crying out for help. Our Police Department gets essentially nothing in my opinion. According to our Police Department, compared to last year we have seen a 20% increase in retail theft crimes this year. And we haven’t even hit the holiday season yet.
On October 10th City Hall was packed and 29 people took the time to speak about their frustrations on the growing criminal activity of our homeless population. And yet, this council has not taken action. I’ve tried. And will continue to try. Because I believe the cost of doing nothing is too high and I know without a shadow of a doubt that the majority of Folsom believes that too.
I am going to keep fighting to get back to one of the key things that distinguishes Folsom from other cities and that is the perception of our impeccably low crime rate and high safety.
What can we do as a council? Well in the past 5 budgets the police department has received only 2 officers. To break that down. From 2019 to 2022 the PD asked for between 4-6 officers every year and received only one within those 4 years. This budget, that I was here to take part in, they asked for 8 officers and received just 1. That’s a total of 2 officers in 5 years. Two officers in 5 years. Have you noticed how much growth there is?
There is no excuse that validates watching the increasing crime, homeless and overall safety of our residents get worse and do nothing. Words can’t help. Words don’t matter anymore. Only action matters now.
The police department has a plan that will help get a grip on this awful trend. But the city leaders continue to put off the difficult decisions that will need to be made to make it a reality. We can’t wait for a tax measure. We can no longer fall back on the perception of safety. We have to decide to make our city the safest most prosperous city in the region.
What can you do? Show up to Council and let them know your priority. I know you’ve done this. Through the survey last year and a few discussions this year. I know you’ve done this through emails or phone calls. But you can’t stop until we have 3 votes to enact a solution. To get our PD the resources they need to do their job and meet our expectations.
I was elected to represent the people of Folsom and as long as I continue to hear your words of frustration, I will continue to fight for you. I need your help.
Anna Rohrbough represents Folsom’s District 5 on City Council. She can be reached at AnnaR@folsom.ca.us. She authors and submits to the “Council Corner” column regularly to Folsom Times to engage with the community. Folsom Times welcomes commentary from any city or government officials who submit for publication. Submissions are not solicited and the opinions expressed in such content is that of the author and not the ownership or staff of Folsom Times.