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Pandemic cuts crime, eliminates commuter traffic issues in Ripon
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The afternoon traffic that was clogging up Jack Tone Road and Main Street in Ripon is gone.

And many of the ongoing quality of life crimes that have become a regular staple of life in the Central Valley have disappeared as well.

According to Ripon Police Lt. Danny Sauer, the frequency at which Ripon Police have responded to property crimes over the course of the last two weeks has dwindled significantly – owed, he said, to the fact that many people are now working from home and the opportunities that existed for thieves to prey on those who worked out of town has dried up due to the pandemic.

While hard numbers are not yet available to provide data to substantiate the claims, Sauer said that there has been a “noticeable” decline in the types of calls that officers are responding to and that has allowed officers to take a more proactive role in educating the public about the stay at home order and ensuring that people are complying with Governor Gavin Newsom’s order.

“We’re still doing heavy patrols and educating the public on the stay at home order,” Sauer said. “Our goal right now is to keep on track with that and maintain our presence in the community.

“As far as crimes go, I think the fact that more people are staying home definitely limits how many people are out committing crime – they seem to go hand-in-hand.”

Sauer said that Ripon residents, overall, have been receptive and responsive to the Governor’s order – apprehensive at first, he said, because of the confusion about what was allowed and what wasn’t.

Now that clarity has been achieved, Sauer said that people are being respectful about keeping their distance and not gathering in public places or parks outside of essential reasons. Ripon has closed all of the playground areas of its parks and doesn’t allow any group gatherings but has elected to keep the parks open for exercise like jogging as long as people aren’t assembled.

Restaurants, he said, that were not in compliance have been spoken to and there haven’t been any issues with getting people to comply with the order at this time.

And now that less commuters are driving over to the Bay Area every day, the cut-through down West Ripon Road to Main Street and onto Jack Tone to alleviate the Highway 120 Bypass is back to normal.

“The area where we used to have the most congestion is pretty light now, although we’re still maintaining our patrols in that area,” Sauer said. “But there’s really not nearly as many cars passing through there every day.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.