As crime continues to rise in Palm Springs, its police department continues to find ways to fight it.
This time in the form of a $4.5 million grant from the state.
“We were made aware of this grant and what it is going to do is help reduce vehicle theft, catalytic converter theft, and then crimes related to retail theft,” Palm Springs Police Lieutenant Gustavo Araiza said. “That was one of the things that we looked at through the years. We had seen an increase within the city and we figured that we had a good shot at maybe getting some funding.”
The Palm Springs Police Department is going to use this grant to combat all three, especially in the downtown area.
Some of the funds will go towards installing glass break tape at over 300 businesses to make them harder to get into and install surveillance cameras outside of those businesses to be monitored in real time.
To help fight catalytic converters being stolen, money is set aside for additional etching systems to label catalytic converters on vehicles belonging to people most at risk of theft.
But that’s not all.
“We will propose to try to increase the amount of cameras in the downtown area, update the cameras that we currently have and then hopefully with that data, we can look in real time and identify issues as they’re happening,” Lieutenant Araiza continued.
PSPD was awarded this grant about three weeks ago and is the largest one the department has ever seen.
Some local retail stores in the area are happy to know the department has their back.
“I think that’s what’s really important is that we have a very proactive Police Department, but we want to make sure that they have the tools that’s necessary to keep us safe,” Crystal Fantasy Owner Joy Meredith said.
Meredith said it also may help with insurance costs since many businesses in the area have been struggling with rates rising, which she believes may be related to the crime statistics.
But there is some concern, especially about installing new automated license plate reader cameras.
“We just want to make sure that everything will be used with the highest integrity and that’s really the big thing,” Meredith shared. “I don’t want to see license plate readers being used to harass citizens or to give an unnecessary challenge to poor people that have unregistered cars or anything like that. I just think that we have to really know and understand how this will all be used, where the data is going and who will have access to that data.”
But the police department says their main purpose and focus with this technology is to combat crime and solve crimes much faster
“I think from a technology perspective, we’re kind of behind the times when you look at what other agencies are doing,” Lieutenant Araiza explained. “This really gives us that boost. It gives us the ability to advance so hopefully, based on our proposals, we’re able to move forward with some of this technology and have an impact on what’s occurring in our city.”
“That is definitely on the top of the list for visitors here who have what they love about Palm Springs or why they came here was because they feel safe here,” Meredith continued. “It’s a vibe about it and we don’t ever want that to change.”
City council still has to approve of this new grant and if they do, PSPD can start their work.
If you’d like to learn more, PSPD will be at the next Main Street Palm Springs meeting to answer questions on Tuesday, October 3rd.