Some of our residents are at risk of falling prey to financial scams.
By Shane Palsgrove
As the new year is upon us, I wanted to let the community know that we continue to be a safe city with a strong social network of people who care for one another and help to find solutions to problems. Our police officers continue to feel supported by our community and city council, and this positive relationship allows them to make a difference in solving crime and connecting community members with housing, mental health, or other helpful resources.
Our training focus for this year is on furthering our commitment to procedural justice for our officers, which is the centerpiece of our community policing efforts. Each officer has received training on remaining neutral, giving those we contact a voice and treating all with dignity and respect.
In addition, we have partnered with Georgetown University — and will be the first agency in Santa Clara County — to train our officers in Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) training. ABLE training teaches officers effective ways to step in when they witness misconduct and how to create a culture that supports such intervention.
We continue to have a low violent crime rate. Crimes against persons overwhelmingly involve relationships where the victim knows the offender.
For crimes against property, some of our residents are at risk of falling prey to financial scams. These scams are often sophisticated, and scammers can be relentless.
They are also typically underreported. More than $1 million was reported as being stolen in 2023. Financial scams do not solely affect the elderly. The average age of these victims is 56. Please take precautionary steps to safeguard yourselves and your loved ones from such scams as cyber-crimes are on the rise.
We have used our technology to disrupt crime trends and increase efficiencies. Our Axon’s technology eco-system that connects our body-worn cameras with our reports, evidence, patrol cars, and weapons continues to help with criminal prosecutions and officer transparency. Since the inception of Flock (automated license plate readers), we have seen thefts, residential burglaries, and commercial burglaries reduced.
Flock has also aided us in locating homicide suspects and other serious criminals. From August 2021 to December 2023, officers made 246 arrests with a total of 823 criminal offenses charged.
- Burglaries (residential and commercial): down 39 percent from 2022
- Theft overall is down 12 percent from 2022
- Thefts from buildings (package thefts) down 20 percent
- Thefts from motor vehicles (auto burglaries) down 17 percent
- Thefts from motor vehicle parts (catalytic converters) down 69 percent.
Our 2023 plan was to increase our traffic team from three to five. However, with promotions and retirements, we have not yet reached our goal, but our team has been staying busy obtaining grants for equipment, providing training, and delivering presentations. They issued 2,374 citations and responded to 96 injury collisions (21 involved alcohol) and 13 bicyclist or pedestrian collisions. Enforcement is prioritized based on collision data, complaints, and sensitive locations such as school zones.
Psychiatric Emergency Response Team
Our team was operational from July 2022 to June 2023 before the county’s behavioral health grant expired. Our team, consisting of a county clinician and a supervising police corporal, provided crisis resolution, proactive outreach, and connected people to behavioral health services. They responded to 82 active calls and conducted 195 follow-up referrals. They also reduced hundreds of 911 calls from persons suffering from mental illness. We learned late last year that the county will recommence funding a clinician for Morgan Hill and Gilroy sometime in early 2024.
I speak for all of us at Morgan Hill Police Department when I say we are forever grateful for your strong partnership and support in keeping our community safe — thank you.
Shane Palsgrove is the Morgan Hill Police Department chief.