By Miriam Raftery
March 20, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Today, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob announced on Facebook that she has sent a letter to state Attorney General Xavier Becerra urging him to investigate the disproportionate placement of sexually violent predators (SVPs) in rural East County.
“As I wrote, Mr. Becerra, action needs to be taken to stop this shameful and callous practice. I included this map showing how nine out of the 12 predators released in our county have been placed in the Jacumba/Campo/Boulevard area,” Jacob writes. “In their attempt to quietly house these monsters in SD County, state prison and hospital officials are exploiting small, rural communities that often lack the resources and clout to challenge these placements.”
With a Superior Court judge on Friday considering housing yet another of these “monsters” in rural East County, Jacob concludes, “This is another reason why I’m asking the Attorney General to step in. Enough is enough.”
Jacob cited a report which states that the ratio of residents to all registered sex offenders in San Diego county is 961-to-1, but the ratio in Jacumba Hot Springs, the community where the two most recent felons are being proposed, is 37-to-1. Copies of her letter were sent to Governor Gavin Newsom and elected state representatives for our region.
State law imposes limits on where SVPs can be placed, requiring minimum distances from sensitive sites such as schools and parks. But rural residents say their communities are being disproportionately impacted.
In addition, law enforcement response times tend to be slower in rural areas than urban parts of our county. In 2014, East County Magazine pulled public records and found that Sheriff response times to the most serious category one calls, those in which a life was immediately threatened, average 4 to 5 minutes in Lemon Grove and Santee, cities that contract for Sheriff services. But in rural areas served by the Campo Sheriff station, the response time from 2011 through 2013 averaged over 30 minutes.
Constituents reacted with overwhelming and unanimous messages of support and gratitude for Supervisor Jacob’s announcement on Facebook.
Shelly Swan wrote, “Go get them, Dianne Jacob! We love your grit and insistence to be fair to the great citizens of our great county!”
Retha Knight posted, “These monsters should never be able to see the light of day, let alone into any community!
The map shows only sexually violent predator placements. But Lorrie Bernard comments, “I’m a resident of Boulevard. And we have 16 predators.” She suggested they be housed near Donavan prison instead to protect children in the community.
Nicholas Zizzo said while working on a Rancho San Diego project, his research found placement of predators was “way too high. It seemed obvious that it was done intentionally,” he said.
Adriana Rosales Moss asked, “Can residents sue the responsible agency for loss of property value due to the way they are placing predators in the back country rural area?”
Stephanie Melaney Glover says the state tried place a predator “right next door to me.” She believes that SVPs should not be released anywhere. “They cannot be rehabilitated,” she wrote, adding that in her view, “No neighborhood should be endangered by sexually violent predators!”
Borrego Springs resident Angela Woodson asked Jacob to speak for residents of her community, too. “A convicted violent risk predator lives near our new library and park,” she wrote.
Renee Owen says placement of predators has become prevalent across East County adding, “I know of a trailer park, located close to Blossom Valley School, nicknamed `Pedo Park’,” a reference to convicted pedophiles.
Jacumba Hot Springs resident Hexzy Schartz stated, “Our little desert town is the true dumping ground for many things.” He cited a proposed 1300+ acre solar project that would impede “our country and quiet living and the beauty of our desert scape. When is it enough, where our little town is just left in peace?” he asks.