At about noon on Sept. 25 of this year, Jesus Navarro sexually assaulted a victim in Fuller Park.
Alert passersby called the Napa Police Department and the suspect was immediately located and arrested shortly thereafter.
Navarro recently pled to a felony count and will be sentenced in mid-December.
This crime was shocking to the conscience, especially given the location and hour. To the police that responded, and the detectives that followed up with the subsequent investigation, this was a sad and unfortunate incident just like many other types of tragic calls they respond to on a weekly basis. To the victim and witnesses, it was a heartrending, life-changing event.
Doris Crawford, who lives in the Fuller Park neighborhood, works in the Records Division of the Napa Police Department and was surprised at the amount of unrest her neighbors felt from the incident.
“Part of me is probably desensitized from what I see working at the Department,” she said.
The Police Department later heard that the incident caused people in the neighborhood to feel unsafe at the park, to alter their walking routes, to start carrying pepper spray.
“This is one we probably could have done a better job with communication to the neighborhood," said Sgt. Amy Hunter.
"We are used to the process of the investigation, interviews, evidence collection, court proceedings, but we often don’t think about how these events create ripples throughout a community”.
It would have been a good opportunity to call a neighborhood meeting to discuss the event, the effects it has on the neighbors, and to discuss crime in general, Sgt. Hunter said: “We all know that talking things through is helpful. Why should it be any different in this case?”
She cautioned, as with any incident, that there are limits to what can be said, both legally and morally, but many fears could likely have been addressed by a simple get-together.
Napa Police Chief Richard Melton recently assigned Sgt. Hunter to work on a project called Neighborhood Based Policing. This is not a new concept and has been used successfully in many cities and towns across the country for years.
The idea is that each neighborhood has its own unique character and challenges for the residents who live in them. The health of each neighborhood is based on the perception of the people who actually live in the neighborhoods.
Neighborhood health means things like the availability and quality of local housing, schools, jobs, businesses, health care, and human services. Also, the presence, or absence, of crime within neighborhood boundaries and how that neighborhood responds or doesn’t respond.
- Do neighbors know each other?
- Would they trust a neighbor to keep an eye on their house?
- How is the police department viewed?
- How are city services delivered to each neighborhood?
- As with the Fuller Park Neighborhood incident, when a traumatic event occurs in a neighborhood, how are the residents impacted?
The Police Department’s goal is to improve dialogue with the community. One way to accomplish this is to conduct a city-wide community survey.
The survey is forty-four questions designed to focus on each individual neighborhood from the perspective of the people who live there.
It encompasses all areas of life and is being delivered both electronically, as well as in paper form, in English and Spanish.
“The questions have been chosen carefully to elicit thoughtful, meaningful, and possibly even controversial discussion amongst the residents of Napa," Hunter said.
The Police Department is asking that residents identify themselves enough so that the Department can invite them to neighborhood group meetings. Based on the survey results, the neighborhood groups can formulate plans on how to combat problems and cheer on successes.
Our business owners have the opportunity hear what they are doing right and what more they can do to expand with in their neighborhood. City and County Staff can be brought in to help neighbors get the most out of their government, whether it’s issues with street maintenance or graffiti.
“We hope City of Napa residents discuss the survey with their family, roommates, friends, and, most importantly, their neighbors. The input we receive is what we will base our next steps on and can either have a major impact, or very little, depending on your participation,” Sgt. Hunter said.
The survey is going to be available in mid-December and will run for one month. The results will be tabulated and made public shortly thereafter.
Chief Melton and his staff believe this is the perfect time to start this renewal. There are many exciting changes, both big and small, coming to the City of Napa and its residents, and it is vital that the community stays informed and on top of this wave, if not pushing it themselves.
Look for the Napa Neighborhood Survey coming soon. It will be available at www.napaneighborhoodsurvey.com and hard copies of the survey with self-addressed and stamped envelopes can be found at all City offices, many County offices, many local businesses, the library, most faith-based organizations and churches, and senior housing and service locations.
If you have any questions or comments, or difficulty locating the survey, please contact Sgt. Amy Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (707) 257-9561.
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