Prosecution of quality of life crimes ranging from graffiti to residential burglaries are being targeted now that funding is being restored to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.
“Some refer to them as broken window crimes,” District Attorney Toni Verber Salazar told the Manteca Rotarians during a recent meeting at Ernie’s.
“Broken window” issues whether it is blight, graffiti, or other property crimes is believed by many in law enforcement from FBI experts to beat cops to be a precursor for a bunch in more serious crimes such as gang violence, murder, and armed robbery.
Budgets as well as staffing was slashed significantly during the Great Recession forcing the DA to focus what limited resources they had on serious felonies as well as keeping on top of welfare fraud and related issues.
Before the recession the DA had 99 prosecuting attorneys. Staffing was reduced at one point to 63 attorneys with a similar reduction in investigators and support staff. Today, the DA’s office has 72 attorneys to handle 30,000 plus cases.
The office just hired six prosecutors out of what Salazar said was a “highly qualified pool of 140 applicants.”
Salazar notes the district attorney is the county’s ranking law enforcement officer based on the fact the office prosecutes criminal cases for all jurisdictions including every city and the county.