City of Redding considers fencing off South City Park in an effort to combat crime

RPD sweep for criminal activity at park

The City of Redding will consider fencing off the majority of South City Park in an effort to combat crime.

Former Mayor and current General Manager for the Redding Colt 45's Baseball Team, Rick Bosetti, said he's added fencing, audio security cameras and private security around Tiger Field in south Redding. Bosetti said the combination of these proactive measures has made criminals uncomfortable and therefore has kept them out of the baseball field.

Still, criminal activity persists in the rest of South City Park which is why Bosetti has proposed closing public access the park as a whole. People that would like to use the park for legal, recreational activities would be able to reserve it online with a refundable deposit.

"Quite honestly, let's close the park to day use in its entirety. Let's require anyone who wants to use the park to do it by reservation and with a deposit. It works for the state governments, it works for the federal governments, it ought to work for us."

Councilwoman Francie Sullivan said this is the first time a member of the community has come forward with a concrete, economical idea for how to solve the issue. She said members of the council have discussed fencing in other areas of Redding as well and they support citizens coming forward to help take back the community.

"It's something that certainly the council has wrestled with. South City Park belongs to all of us. Everyone has a right to public property. They do not have a right to break the law. That's where the line is drawn," Sullivan said she agrees that part of the solution is putting pressure on criminal behavior.

"I think more police officers, more police officers on bikes, more police officers in cars are a detriment to crime. The most cost effective thing our community could do would be if we had enough law enforcement and enough community pressure, then the word would be out that you couldn't get away with it here," Sullivan added.

However, the Redding Police Department only has seven officers on duty at a time so they welcome the community stepping up.

"We should be pushing them every moment of everyday. When they sit down anywhere, we ought to have someone there that says 'no, not here. Move on, keep going," said Bosetti.

Tuesday law enforcement was in the park, working to get rid of the criminal element but Police Chief Roger Moore admits his department is overwhelmed.

"It's being ran kind of like a prison down there where you have certain people that control certain parts of the park and that's concerning to me. Every chance I get I have officers going down there and making sure people are obeying the law and obeying our Redding municipal code but it is still concerning to me right now because I really want to take back that park but we need help," Chief Moore said officers from neighboring departments aid RPD as often as they can.

"I understand our police can't enforce every ordinance but when they're trespassing we've got to do something about it," Bosetti responded.

"We can't just give [up] control of our parks to these people. These are not people looking for help. The mission has lots of beds down there," Bosetti said people camping illegally at the park tell him it's their park and then tell him they would rather live there than follow the rules at organizations such as the Good News Rescue Mission, which is walking distance from that part of town.

The proposal has gained a great amount of community support after shared on Facebook by local radio host Carl Bott. Bott said after discussing the idea with Mayor Kristen Schreder on the Free Fire Radio morning show, she's on board with Bosetti's plan of attack to take back the park.

"We set a precedent here. These people will always seek the path of least resistance and communities that are going to provide resistance to them will succeed," Bosetti declared.

Bosetti and Bott are in the process of raising the funds for the project and said college students from Shasta College have offered to do the welding.

The council will discuss the proposal to fence off South City Park as early as their next meeting, Tuesday June 5.

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