Palm Springs Police Chief Speaks On Recent Crime Spike

Carmela Karcher

A shooting, stabbing, and a body found.

This is what happened all within one week across the city of Palm Springs, leaving many locals with two major questions: What is happening, and why?

“Well, we are actually seeing a significant spike in violent crime nationwide,” Chief Mills said.

He and many experts attribute the rise in crime to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

“It did drive crime down for a while since everyone was hunkered down in their homes and it caused certain types of crime to go a little bit lower,” Chief Mills continued. “For instance, domestic violence, substance abuse and suicides may have risen while street crimes may have fallen. We want to make sure we are seeing it correctly. So this last year has shown a significant increase, but we want to look at that 5 to 7 year perspective to make sure that we can look at the deviation from what’s normal.”

Chief Mills is taking over from former Chief Bryan Reyes.

Reyes was with PSPD for 27 years and saw the city through some of the worst crimes in recent memory.

Amid the turnover in leadership, Chief Mills wants to introduce himself to the community, build relationships, and find out what Palm Springs locals want from their police department.

He’s doing that by hosting five community meetings this week, one in each council district, across the city.

“What do they want from their police department? And how can we accomplish that mission for them? The meeting will be divided into two sections. One will be to help us establish the mission and the second is to set the crime fighting priorities for the city,” Chief Mills said.

Chief Mills says anyone can come from any district with the goal of clarifying the wants and needs from the community.

“There will be a lot of people giving us feedback, so we will take all that data, we will crunch it and give it back to the community so that they can see the end product. Then, that will be our mission. We will drive forward and make sure we are driving those problems first,” he said.

The first public meeting this week will be hosted at Victoria Park from 4 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Below is the schedule for the rest of the week:

Wednesday, February 16: Convention Center East Lawn, 4 to 5 p.m.

Thursday, February 17: Cahuilla Elementary School, 4 to 5 p.m.

Friday, February 18: Palm Springs High School Amphitheater, 4 to 5 p.m.

Saturday, February 19: Demuth Park (near the pickle ball courts), 4 to 5 p.m.

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