While Folsom has historically been known for its relative safety, recent incidents indicate a shift in the nature of crime within the community. The park, where I have taken my children for years, has become the scene of two major assaults. In the first instance, two homeless individuals engaged in a fight resulting in one stabbing the other, leading to life-threatening injuries and a temporary closure of the park for investigation.

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This past week, at the same park, an elderly man was beaten and had to be transported to the hospital.  The suspect in this case fled to his nearby residence and barricaded himself inside.  The Folsom Police Department SWAT team did an outstanding job responding to the dangerous situation and peacefully taking the suspect into custody.  

These are just two examples of violent crimes that have occurred within a rock throw from my house.  Unfortunately, crime in Folsom is not confined to one area.  Stabbings, assaults, retail theft, burglary, drug dealing and more are being reported throughout the city.  While I would still consider Folsom a safe place to live, there is no doubt that crime is affecting the community more than ever, and as the criminals get more and more comfortable operating within the city it will continue to increase.

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It is not only violent crime that is up in Folsom but property crime as well.  On several occasions, I have personally witnessed individuals leaving stores without paying for merchandise.  Retail theft is a major issue throughout the state that harms consumers and small businesses the most.  

While preventing all crime is unrealistic something has to be done to curb the current crime trends.  Crime prevention is a local problem and must be handled at a local level.  In the last decade, the State of California has enacted numerous pieces of legislation that have decriminalized many crimes or reduced the penalties to nearly nothing.  This has emboldened criminals who operate knowing there are very few consequences for their actions.  In fact, in Folsom, property crimes increased by 15% from 2022 to 2023, and crimes against people increased by a mind-blowing 76%. There is no reason to believe that the state will change course and start to hold individuals accountable.  As a 25-year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, I know there are ways to enforce the law and make a difference while operating under the rules the state has forced upon us but it takes a commitment from the city leaders.  

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It is not too late to turn things around and revert to a time when violent crime was not so common.  Folsom residents have to demand that the city begin to address the crime issues by providing the Folsom Police Department with the tools and manpower that are needed.  Folsom Police Department should have the resources to investigate crime while also being able to have a meaningful patrol presence to prevent crime.  While the population of Folsom has grown tremendously over the last fifteen years the amount of police officers on the street has not.  The Folsom Police Department has fewer officers now than they did in 2008.

Residents and would-be criminals should know that committing a crime in Folsom will result in apprehension, arrest, and prosecution.  Even if the state does not feel the need to hold criminals accountable the City of Folsom and its leaders should.  

The Folsom City Council is now considering budget options and we, the Folsom community, need to voice our concerns before the budget is finalized.  They have to know that the safety of all Folsom residents should be their number one concern.  There will be tough decisions that have to be made but public safety and quality of life should be the guidepost for making those choices.  

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The Folsom City Council meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month.  Please voice your opinion on where they need to prioritize their budget this year.  Countless municipalities have chosen to defund or not adequately staff public safety and without exception these cities have all seen a rise in lawlessness.  I for one do not want to see Folsom follow that path.

Dustin Silva is a resident of Folsom who is very engaged in many parts of the community and is a 25 year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

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Dustin Silva
Author: Dustin Silva