WASCO, Calif. (KGET) — Tomorrow, Wasco mayor Alex Garcia will team up again with local mothers concerned about a spate of violence in the city.
Wasco is coming off a year that saw 8 homicides: 1 at Wasco State Prison, another where a sheriff’s deputy shot a domestic violence suspect, and 6 that saw people killed on the city’s streets.
But those deaths alone don’t cover the full range of assaults in shootings there were in 2020.
“Like one of our residents put it…she says sometimes [the] families in her neighborhood feel unsafe to play outside with her kids, ” Garcia said in an interview Wednesday morning.
The goal of the Mayor and Moms meeting is help people share their concerns and get feedback on the proposals being pitched to improve safety.
The meeting will begin at 4 p.m. at the park on 15th Street, between D and Broadway streets.
The park is not far from one of Wasco’s last homicides of 2020: the shooting that killed Jamiel Ringold on December 23. Vincente Regalado was shot the day after Christmas on Poplar Avenue, barely a mile away.
Garcia believes a community effort can make the neighborhood safer for everyone.
“We want to make sure that it’s safe for the community to use these facilities and make sure any bad characters are warded off, and restore the message that this is our park, this is our community and our neighborhood, and we deserve a safe neighborhood, ” Garcia said.
Wasco’s city council is considering multiple options to cut down violence and help solve crimes, from ShotSpotter technology that can detect gunfire, to cameras that read licenses plates.
But Mayor Garcia said even with bolstered law enforcement or safety, crime will still remain, which is why it’s important to get community members more involved, and help them give evidence to investigators.
“One of the biggest issues we have is getting people to report crimes, or submit evidence should they have any,” the mayor said.
One idea the city believes could help is a rebate program for people who buy home security cameras, and encourage them to use those cameras with KCSO’s camera registry.
During the city’s first council meeting of 2021, the city manager asked members to give him recommendations to see what could be worked into the midyear operating budget and possibly be implemented by the end of the year.
Those options will be discussed during tomorrow’s meeting at the park. Any attendees are asked to wear a mask to lower the risk of coronavirus infection, and practice social distancing.