Councilmember Saballos organizes community listening session in wake of mass shooting

Community listening session organized in wake of mass shooting

in Community/Crime

Councilmember Elmer Martinez Saballos will hold a community listening session on May 21 at the Sequoia YMCA from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in response to the May 7 mass shooting that left five injured.

Given the ongoing police investigation, “the discussion will be limited to receiving community questions and concerns related to public safety in District 4.”

The investigation into the shooting has yet to result in an arrest. The neighborhood is predominantly Latino, and many residents are undocumented who may fear that cooperating with police may result in deportation.

“I want to bring together our neighbors from District 4 to heal from this traumatic incident, and to hear what they need and what their concerns around public safety are,” said Martinez Saballos. “It’s also an opportunity to inform the community about resources available to them, and remind neighbors that their documentation status and previous criminal history will not result in any retribution whatsoever from law enforcement.”

The Redwood City Police Department itself assures the community in a statement to Climate Magazine that undocumented individuals will not face consequences if they come forward.

“Everyone is encouraged to provide us with information that may help us solve this crime regardless of their immigration status,” said Redwood City Police Department Public Information Officer Nicholas Perna, “We’re only interested in furthering the shooting investigation.”

Despite a growing public perception that crime has worsened dramatically in recent years, violent crime and property crime have, in fact, fallen. According to a report recently released by the Redwood City Police Department, Redwood City experienced approximately 2,500 crimes per 100,000 residents in 2012. In 2021, that number fell to 2,000 crimes per 100,000. Crime increase slightly from 2020 to 2021 by approximately 300 crimes per 100,000 residents.

The report highlighted a key challenge facing the Redwood City Police Department, especially as the City navigates a projected budget deficit estimated to be in the tens of millions over the coming years.

“There is indication that the workforce is tired and, in some cases, burned out due to the long hours associated with extended shifts and overtime caused by low staffing,” the report states.

In a budget study session last year, City Manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz expected the nine vacancies in the Redwood City Police Department to be filled by the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

The Redwood City Police Department report went even further, recommending “adding a total of 5 to 7 sworn officers and 3 to 5 civilian staff members over a five-year period, starting in FY2024-25” to keep up with anticipated future needs.

As the City continues to invest in public safety, Martinez Saballos hopes that the Police Department will continue to strengthen its relationship with members of his District.

“Our department leadership and officers have done a tremendous job to build trust with residents, but there is still more we can do to reach everyone in our community,” said Martinez Saballos. We are stronger when we work together, so we need folks to come together right now and help us cultivate a safe Redwood City.”