The Ventura Police Department (VPD) will step up prevention efforts on neighborhood drug and crime issues through Measure O funding. This was approved by the City Council during its regular meeting on September 25. The funding will be dedicated to a comprehensive plan developed by VPD that will specifically address narcotics and property crime issues by adding sworn officers onto the streets of the Ventura community.
“This funding will strengthen our ability to effectively respond to crime and narcotic activity, and further our long term efforts to improve the quality of life for Ventura residents,” said Mayor Erik Nasarenko. “The revenue generated from Measure O is providing vital services we need in our community.”
The Measure O funding for neighborhood drug and crime prevention is ongoing. The partial year appropriation is $622,000 for non-sworn, non-safety, Police Officer Trainees. In subsequent years, the Trainee positions are expected to transition to 1 Police Sergeant and 4 Police Officers performing the full range of law enforcement duties and the appropriation will adjust to $940,000 after five years.
The City of Ventura has the highest per capita Part 1 Crime Rate in Ventura County, driven most significantly by property crimes. Additionally, Ventura has the highest incident of drug overdoses in Ventura County and receives more than 100 calls per year to its Narcotics Hotline regarding concerns of neighborhood and public space drug offenses. The Ventura Police Department has no dedicated resources to effectively respond to the problem.
Prior to the recession the Ventura Police Department had 13 Police Officers assigned to property crimes and drug narcotic investigations. There are now only seven Officers assigned to both areas, while reported property crimes have increased by more than 20%.