Land Park protest over crime turns ugly
By Nick Kufasimes
The plan was to gather at Land Park Drive and Broadway. We wanted to show support for law enforcement and express concerns over crime and the degraded quality of life in Land Park.
We wanted to hold city leaders accountable for our safety.
The demonstration began at 10 a.m. on Sept. 10. Land Park neighbors greeted each other and compared homemade signs. They discussed the spread of crime in their neighborhood. Signs said, “No on the increase in crime,” “Safe neighborhoods” and “Support our Sacramento Police Department.”
I spoke with several women concerned about their children’s safety. They were afraid to shop at Target on Broadway and Riverside, feeling unsafe in the store and parking lot. Some said they never believed they would protest crime in Land Park, but there they were.
I spoke to business owners who expressed disbelief about crimes they saw around their establishments and the toll on their livelihoods. Several mentioned how Starbucks and Jamba Juice on Broadway got so tired of crimes against employees and damage to their stores that both shut down.
Around 10:30 a.m., a group of individuals arrived, led by a person with a bullhorn. They set up on the opposite corner, in front of Tower Liquors, and chanted, “F— the police.”
Soon they moved across Broadway to confront us. They got in our faces, screamed, called us names and stuck phones in our faces to video us. One man pushed a woman in our group and tore her sign. When police arrived, he ran away.
Next, the anti-police demonstrators blocked Broadway. We asked police if they could remove them from the street before someone got hurt. The police said they had a right to block the street.
I’m all for a good debate, but this was too much. The anti-police group wanted no debate. They wanted to yell at us and tell us how to think, how the police are bad and should be defunded, how police budgets should go to homeless housing.
They called us Trump supporters, racists and white supremacists. Apparently, if you pay a mortgage and taxes and want your government to provide safe neighborhoods, you deserve these labels.
Sacramento Police are understaffed by more than 80 officers. Mayor Darrell Steinberg agrees we need more police. City Council member Katie Valenzuela, who represents Land Park, has tried to cut the police budget without success.
It’s not hard to understand why crime has increased in Sacramento. When you see businesses closing thanks to crime, watch individuals leave stores without paying for items, see locked cabinets in shops, find broken glass from car burglaries and don’t feel safe in neighborhood parking lots, something is not right.
Nick Kufasimes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.