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Crime At Santa Cruz Businesses Sparks Community Debate

By Jacqueline Tualla, Reporter, JacquelineTualla@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Jan 13 2014 06:32:08 PM CST

Members of a Santa Cruz community say they’re tired of the widespread crime happening at businesses across the system. This comes after a 68-year-old woman was robbed and attacked at a grocery story, sparking a debate about how to crack down on crime.

“I think Santa Cruz has gotten to the tipping point to where there’s just too much to handle,” said Richelle Noroyan.

Noroyan has lived in Santa Cruz for nearly her whole life and said something needs to be done.

“People have always panhandled, but where it seems different is the amount of people doing that and the amount of people doing the nuisance crimes, and doing it over and over and over again,” she said.

She said businesses need to take responsibility and hire extra security, but she also said the system is flawed.

“I also think the federal and state government need to step up and provide a better social safety net, that’s obviously lacking big time and it reverberates to everybody, like the businesses and local justice system,” Noroyan said.

The Santa Cruz community exploded on social media with suggestions on how to battle crime happening at businesses. This came after Central Coast News reported a 68-year-old woman was robbed and attacked by three males at the Safeway on Morrissey Boulevard on Jan. 4.

“It can happen again and something needs to be done,” said Cynthia Douglas, who lives in Santa Cruz. “I feel like it takes a village. It takes a county. It takes more than just the businesses because it’s just a big problem.”

Regina Henderson said Ocean Street is a hot spot for crime. She said police told her there were 560 combined service calls at the McDonald’s Valero Corner Store and Ferrell’s Donuts last year. Central Coast News is still waiting on figures from police.

“With Safeway, it’s really bringing to light what’s going on with the big businesses in town and they’re responsible for the people that’s being allowed to hang out on their property,” she said.

Henderson said she took it upon herself to get street lights put up at Ferrell’s Donuts and a fence around the old Midas building on Ocean Street after seeing too much street activity going on.

“It’s a squeaky wheel but I’m one person. I’m working recently with city council members, and the community to bring attention to Ocean Street and what’s going on,” Henderson said.

Central Coast News tried reaching some of the stores and have not heard back as of Monday evening.