Repeat arrestees are well-known to Gilroy police
– and some residents
Gilroy – You recognize their names and addresses in the newspaper. You know where they hang out and how old they are. In a sense, they are local celebrities without the status. They appear in the police blotter – regularly.
“It’s like a revolving door,” said Sgt. Kurt Svardal of the Gilroy Police Department. “There are people that we know exactly who they are, and they know exactly who we are.”
Within a five-day span in between Oct. 1 and Oct. 6, a 46-year-old transient was arrested for public intoxication – twice. Similarly, a 51-year-old transient was arrested on the same charge twice within a 50-hour period, between Sept. 24 and Sept. 26.
According to Svardal, most of the repeat offenders arrested during the course of the year are arrested for outstanding warrants and public drunkenness.
While it may seem to be counterproductive to keep re-arresting the same individuals, police insist there is a method to the seeming madness of booking and rebooking repeat offenders.
“It is much better to arrest them for being drunk in public, than to have to conduct a fatal accident investigation because they stepped out in front of a car,” Svardal explained. “It’s not a waste of resources. It’s a frustration of resources.”
Unless individuals arrested for public intoxication commit another crime, the penalty does not necessarily deter them from repeating the offense, Svardal said.
For Svardal, having to rearrest someone for the same offense is frustrating, especially if the person arrested won’t get help.
But it isn’t just the same people who may pop up in the blotter – it’s also the same addresses.
“First you look to see if there’s anyone you know (in the blotter),” said Patty Filice, a real estate agent for Intero Real Estate Services. “I’m more fixated on the addresses … I personally look to see what streets had burglaries … I look at it to see what’s going on. I do notice when certain streets come up.”
Certain blocks of Monterey Street and stores such as Walmart, and those at the Gilroy Outlets may have multiple arrests in one day.
On Sept. 28, the first day Walmart opened, two females were arrested for theft. During the holidays, there is often an increase in vehicle burglaries at the Gilroy Outlets.
While it may appear police are patrolling these neighborhoods more than others, Svardal has another explanation: Many businesses hire private security to watch their storefronts.
“We don’t necessarily patrol any differently – we’ll go there because they call us,” Svardal said.
Councilman Charlie Morales floated an idea at Tuesday night’s Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum asking businesses to pick up a larger share of public safety costs for this reason.
While the plan is not detailed, Morales said in a Dispatch questionnaire that the fee is justified since, “a significant number of our police calls are utilized throughout these business corridors in traffic enforcement, robbery, (and) theft.”
Police may increase neighborhood patrols at a resident’s request or after a situation such as the levee attacks on Sept. 11 – when a man grabbed two women and attempted to take them into the bushes.
According to Svardal, the city is sectioned to spread out on duty officers across Gilroy. But that is where direction from the top ends.
“Patrol is very random,” Svardal said. “It’s wherever an officer wants to go.”