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Community costs | EDITORIAL
It’s a sad state of affairs when the city police recommend that private citizens hire off-duty police to watch their homes while they are away to bury their dead.
The recent funeral burglary illustrates well the reasons why elected leaders at Port Orchard city hall and in the Kitsap County government campus up the hill, should view their defunding of policing agencies, in favor of other government programs, as passing the costs on to citizens and homeowners.
With the city finance committee’s preference for an increase in patrols, rather than more in-depth tactics recently sought by the police department, unlikely to stop property crimes, the police have said they can actually go beyond the surface and remove, to a degree, the deeper cause behind burglarizing a family while they are at a funeral.
Police believe that fully 80 percent of such crimes are connected to local drug dealing and use. Joined with drug court’s approach to treat the addicted, tasks force operations that make felony drug and gun arrests, at dealer level and above, would reduce the overall crime rate with the fewest dollars spent by the city and county bureaucracies and bring the largest gains in saving the public from the intrusion and loss of dignity that follows such crimes.
With both the city of PO and the County suffering low tax revenues at what is perceived to be the bottom of the Great Recession, elected leaders have decisions to make about what money goes where, including public safety. While there is no guarantee that the specific robbery would have not, what is almost certain is that those who took what was taken from the family were shortly thereafter looking to trade those goods for heroin or meth.