Former News-Press blogger Craig Smith, who is back writing with his daughter Taryn, reacted to the piece by stating that the crime rate is no greater now than it was back in the late 1970’s; rather, crime just gets covered by more media. Even in the wake of a deadly shooting, an outbreak of graffiti, and a rash of gang-related stabbings, Smith writes, “year-in-and year out from then until now we average about 12 homicides a year, for the whole county! Murders were never confined to the seedier parts of the county… The difference between now and then is that back then you didn’t have a guy named Roger listening to police calls on a scanner and posting them on Edhat.”
Adding to the conversation that arose from Rae’s widely-read column, Roger the Scanner Guy immediately disagreed with Smith’s assertion…” I got here in 1980, I lived on the streets,” wrote Roger. “There were some problems, but nothing like the problems of today. While we have always had gangs they usually fought each other and did not attack, and beat up your regular Joe. There were not as many homeless people then as there are now. The homeless people back then were not as much of a problem as they are today. Ex-offenders on parole, sex offenders, and people wanted from other states they might get extradited from their own state but not a few states away in California so they come here. There are more people, more condos, more business, more industry, a HELL of a lot more bars on State Street than there was in the late 70′s.”
What’s your view… is Santa Barbara better off than it was 35 years ago?