Sheriff’s hosts coffee with Lemon Grove community, report good numbers for 2018

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Scott Amos is the lieutenant who commands Lemon Grove’s substation of the County of San Diego’s Sheriff’s Department. On Tuesday evening, Oct. 9, Amos welcomed Lemon Grove residents to the first-ever evening session of “Coffee with the Community,” held at Anna’s Family Restaurant on Broadway in Lemon Grove.

Scott Amos is the lieutenant who commands Lemon Grove’s substation of the County of San Diego’s Sheriff’s Department. On Tuesday evening, Oct. 9, Amos welcomed Lemon Grove residents to the first-ever evening session of “Coffee with the Community,” held at Anna’s Family Restaurant on Broadway in Lemon Grove.

Amos introduced representatives of his substation for the Senior Volunteer Patrol as well as deputy sheriffs with traffic services and patrols, detectives and a crime analyst. Amos described the respective duties and areas of expertise before each member from the Lemon Grove Substation addressed the overflowing room of attendees.

“I am really appreciative for what the Sheriff’s do in taking this time to talk to us,” said Helen Ofield.

Ofield is a longtime Lemon Grove resident, who serves as president with the Lemon Grove Historical Society.

“I’ve been coming to these meetings for about five years, and I cannot say enough to thank the Sheriff’s for informing us about crimes and crime prevention here in Lemon Grove,” she said.

The big announcement from Amos was that crime is down by 25 percent this year in Lemon Grove. Burglaries, robberies and assaults are all down in occurrence. The most common criminal act in Lemon Grove for 2018 is vehicle theft. During 2017, retail thefts made up most crimes in the city.

Amos explained further that his law enforcement team brought about this success in fighting crimes through crime analysis, directing resources to problem areas and building relationships throughout the sectors of Lemon Grove. Crime analysis identifies trends and patterns. Patrols are reassigned based on frequent locations where crimes occur. Probation checks and investigation of newly arrived career criminals within Lemon Grove add to the proactive interventions that protect residents.

Amos also advised audience members that his deputies cannot be in all neighborhoods at all times, but people with concerns should make calls for service. Amos asked that residents contact the substation even for small violations. Those calls are prioritized.

“We need your eyes and ears,” Amos said. “Don’t give up. Someone will follow up.”

Violators committing “small” crimes often have outstanding warrants, said Amos, and that may alert the sheriffs to prolific offenders in Lemon Grove. Increasing the sheriffs’ knowledge base is helpful in preventing crimes, he said.

The sheriffs monitor social media for information as well, including Twitter and NextDoor alerts of criminal activity.

Amos noted some looming potential problems, including introduction of legal marijuana dispensaries in Lemon Grove and a recent ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court barring citations for homeless and transients who sleep on public land. Drinking, smoking and urinating in public are illegal. Many homeless persons have mental health issues, according to Amos.

“Jails are de facto mental health facilities,” he said.

Selene Gutierrez attended the meeting as a volunteer with City Hope, seeking to build relationships with the Lemon Grove sheriffs and gain more information. Gutierrez has volunteered with the nonprofit organization for a year, covering law enforcement assistance, crisis response and suicide prevention throughout East County.

“We are able to relieve the officers, and we are able to morally serve Lemon Grove,” Gutierrez said. “We are looking forward to getting more involved in Lemon Grove, meeting the people and officers here, and recruiting new volunteers in Lemon Grove.”

City Hope is based in La Mesa and maintains a special focus on response to domestic violence calls, while helping for any traumatic event or crisis. City Hope can be reached for assistance by phoning (619) 319-4423.

Special programs of the senior volunteers with the Lemon Grove Sheriffs include street patrol assistance, vacation checks of residences, safety checks of housebound residents known as YANA (“You Are Not Alone”), and vehicle maintenance. The patrol unit trains deputies, takes crime reports and engages in crime suppression efforts. The patrol deputies are particularly interested in reports of quality-of-life crimes. Traffic services deputies take collision reports, emphasize “behavior-changing activities” and provide administration. Showing a traffic service officer presence deters speeding and bad driving and discourages drunk driving.

Emergency calls for the Lemon Grove Sheriff’s should be made to 911. For non-emergencies, the phone number to call is (858) 565-5200. The Lemon Grove Sheriff’s Substation is located at 3240 Main Street in Lemon Grove.

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