Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Crime Disclosure

Community Member Question:

I have heard that crime has decreased over the years but I often see articles of crime in our community with much more exposure than others. It would seem that some communities conceal some of these negative situations but Fontana is very open about it and actually has crime mapping link on the PD web link http://fontana.org/index.aspx?nid=112 . Though I am certain Fontana's crime rates are very much alike the cities to the west, the openness at times versus concealing seems to have a negative image of our community. My question is wouldn't it be better to release only the articles that have a criminal at large?


City Manager Answer:

Thank you for your question. The issue of transparency is very important to the Mayor and City Council and as such, they encourage all departments to make available as much information to the public as possible. The following is a comment provided by our Chief of Police on the issue of releasing criminal information.

Chief of Police Rod Jones:

We have heard before, that the police department releases too much information to the media. The police department prides itself on its very open–transparent relationship with the media and the community they serve. Not only does the police department frequently release information to the local news outlets; it allows residents to sign up for ‘Nixle’ updates, it has a Facebook page, provides for updates and notifications for sex registrants, and holds numerous community meetings throughout the year in a variety of Fontana communities.

While this open and vibrant relationship with the media may bring too much attention on criminal events, it is far worse to have an uninformed community. The men and women of the Fontana Police Department are dedicated to the community they serve. They risk their lives every day protecting Fontana residents. Many crimes are crimes of opportunity. Some criminals prey on a specific behavior or practice. By keeping the City of Fontana informed, the police department can better educate its residents so they can avoid being victimized by opportunistic criminals.