Funding additional police officers
Crime rates in Seal Beach and surrounding communities have increased, for a variety of reasons. If we hire additional officers to increase neighborhood patrols, this should be effective in discouraging would-be criminals. Showing the flag, or in this case the shield, is important.
But the question is how to fund more officers?
A general increase in either property or sales taxes is not popular, as recent Sun surveys indicate.
For citizens to support additional revenue, a clear mechanism must exist that shows that the money is going specifically to increase police officers, and not to disappear into some general fund.
My suggestion is to raise the funds through a surcharge on the Seal Beach utility bill, which would clearly specify that the money is directed solely to increased police hiring.
Of course, this approach should be taken to a vote of the Seal Beach residents. In this particular case, I do not believe that Leisure World residents should vote on this issue, nor should they be subject to the surcharge.
The reasons are clear: Leisure World will likely vote against any additional revenue for the police. First, they are a self-contained gated community and would not see the benefit of additional patrols. Second, they are retirees with limited income and assets.
Seal Beach is currently dealing with slow revenue growth and pressure on expenses. To a large extent, this reflects the blended nature of the economic demographics.
To illustrate, key Seal Beach demographics are as follows: median household income $63k versus $68k for California as a whole, house value $345k versus $478k and resident age 58 years versus 36 years. This clearly reflects the influence of Leisure World in the statistics.
In Rossmoor, the numbers are income $120k, house value $968k and age 46 years. Excluding Leisure World, Seal Beach demographics would probably be quite similar to Rossmoor.
The point is that this vote for additional revenue for more police officers needs to be undertaken by the fifteen thousand or so residents that live in Old Town- Surfside, the greater Hill area and College Park.
These are the residents with greater financial resources and these are the residents who have the need for increased police presence in their neighborhoods.
We all want Seal Beach to stay a nice, high quality of life and low crime city. But high quality always costs more. The choice is ours.