REDDING, Calif. - The masses came out in Redding, voicing their frustrations to a panel of law enforcement and justice officials.
A town hall meeting was held Wednesday night – a quarterly gathering hosted by Redding Police Chief Robert Paoletti. It was the biggest turnout he had ever seen at these events.
The meeting location was relocated to the McLaughlin Auditorium at Sequoia Middle School to accommodate the larger audience. Capacity in the auditorium is 775-people but participants stood around the edge of the room, raising the attendance to an estimated crowd of more than 900. The fire marshal had to turn people away.
It started at 6:00 p.m. and was still going strong more than 3-hours later, wrapping up around 9:30 p.m.
Much of the question and answer session focused around problems with drug and property crimes. In one response, the chief urged people to take action.
"50 percent of the burglaries that took place in the city of Redding last year had no forced entry," Paoletti said. "People are leaving their doors and windows unlocked, or their garage doors open inviting people to commit crimes."
He said times have changed.
"I wish Redding was the way it was in the '60s and '70s where people could do that," Paoletti said as the audience cheered. "But I'm here to tell you that the reality is it isn't."
Questions continued with many of them directed toward Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko and the jail system, including AB 109 prison realignment.
Shasta County chief deputy district attorney Josh Lowery said it is hard to prosecute low-level offenders who are being released, with regards to getting them to prison and out of the area.
"For the vast majority they don't go to prison. So what we try to do is try to wait until we see a crime that's prison eligible and then we send them," he said. "That's the only way we can get them out of the community when they're out racking up 8, 10, and 12 cases. It's just really burdensome on us and the entire system."
Additional resources on many of the topics discussed can be found by visiting the Redding Police Department website.