Stabbings on sale

May 20, 2010

They should never have closed the Ventura Police Department annex at the Pacific View Mall.

It’s still vacant after having shut down for over a year now … no replacement vendors, nothing. That was well before the failure of Measure A, the ambitious sales tax increase, 40 percent of which would have boosted our public safety services.

Would having the police annex do anything to curb crime at the mall? I certainly think so. Take the stabbing which occurred yesterday at the mall.

From what we’ve heard, two young men were accosted by three other young men at the mall, a fight ensued, and mall security were summoned to break up the fracas, already unnerving to shoppers and visitors.

But that wasn’t enough. After getting kicked out of the mall, another fight broke out, and one of the two original victims was stabbed. It was only then that the police were called. Arrests were made, yes, and suspects are in custody with some damn serious charges against them (attempted murder, street terrorism, etc.).

But had the cops been there to begin with, it’s likely the stabbing wouldn’t have happened, in my opinion, because arrests may already have been made. The suspects were gang members and could have had existing warrants. Or just the sheer intimidation of the law would have cut off any scuffle right there.

Instead, the mall, which I always thought was pretty safe, earns a shady reputation.

The argument isn’t really over the hypothetical “what-ifs” of the situation had the police been there first or not. It’s *why* the police weren’t there to begin with. I say it’s because of trust.

Yes, we’re still feeling the fallout of rejecting Measure A because we didn’t trust our elected officials to pump money into public safety funding through a sales tax increase. It’s a very familiar feeling that doesn’t go away: this week, we got news on the closure of a fire station, also from a lack of public safety funding.

It makes me wonder where else fights will break out … the frozen foods aisle of the grocery store?

It’s only primary election season, so we don’t have any important tax increase ballots this time around, with a public safety option, in Ventura. Still, it’s worth remembering this stuff for June 8, and in future elections:

Know the *real* details of ballot measures and proposed legislature in your city … and give elected representatives a second chance to fund critical services. How many stabbings or shootings do we need to realize that?

The mall might be a great place to go to fund stuff on sale, but aggravated assault isn’t one of them, no matter how deep the discount — or the knife wound. I’d pay an extra sales tax for that.

Or Newark. Or Detroit. Or Washington, D.C. Or Philadelphia. Or any one of the most crime-ridden cities in the world.

Yes, right here in Ventura County, Oxnard qualifies more and more as a war zone that spawns act upon violent act.

News of a 13-year-old teen — a boy, in all respects — gunned down on a downtown street last night makes me wonder when we’ll ever see a turnaround in violence here.

Every time a shooting, stabbing or other assault or murder happens in Oxnard, the extreme details become worse and worse. How young must the victims get? At 13, was Joseph Jacquez any kind of a threat to someone armed with a gun?

At 13, would he even have had gang affiliations yet? (If he was even going down that commonly-treaded road in Oxnard.)

Word is that the shooting could have been random … a typical form of gang initiation. Last year, it was speculated a female motorist shot in the face while at a downtown Oxnard stoplight was the victim of such a initiative shooting.

It’s a case of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Especially in parts of Oxnard, where there’s a better chance of being gunned down than the odds are of dying in a car crash.

It still doesn’t change the fact that the likely teenage gunman won’t grow up to change his ways … and that the teenage victim won’t grow up at all.

I know, a better question would be: Should I change the name of this blog to The Fillmore Estate?

Lately, it’s the one municipality in our stately Ventura County I’ve scrawled about the most on here, but for good reason: it just goes to show that this tiny little enclave has seen a heckuva good amount of activity of the criminal kind.

Received a police report this weekend reporting on a supposed gang-related assault on two men … two times, no less.

According to the sheriff’s department, both men, 22 and 49 respectively, were kicked, punched and hit with a rock by the gangsters, in a pair of incidents that left the victims with moderate-to-serious injuries.

The alleged gang members? Only 16 and 17 years old.

Authorities are expected to make more arrests in this case, which makes me wonder if the Fillmore brass’d be wise to follow in the footsteps of Oxnard, where two gang injunctions are in place legally that both identify known gang members and disallow them from perpetuating certain criminal behaviors.

The injunctions have worked to reasonable success in the county’s most violent city. Could other cities have good use for an injunction as well?