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Parolees are a problem
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Ceres Street Crimes Unit (SCU) officers report having observed an increase of parolees in this area. This observation is not statistically verified at this time, but in my experience, police officer intuition coupled with their ability to know who the criminals are, I have to take their observations seriously.

The problem with parolees speaks for itself. Few are actually "rehabilitated" while in prison. To the contrary, most come out with enhanced criminal capabilities, they are more "hardened" as individuals and they are ill-equipped to support themselves through legitimate means. They tend to come out of prison predis

posed to a continued life of crime and failure. In California, some 70 percent of parolees are back behind bars within 24 months of release. Of those prison returnees, 10 percent will return to back to jail or prison six or more times in a seven-year period. Keep in mind that these waves of incorrigible parolees are out there victimizing people just like you.

Interestingly, the state and the federal courts have been contemplating measures to reduce state prison overcrowding, and as yet, no solution or formal agreements have been achieved. Yet, the state's prison population has declined in the past months by some 4.5 percent, representing almost 5,400 more releases than normal. This may be the result of liberalized release standards or a more aggressive policy to clear out prison cells. I do not know for sure, but with the long-standing trend of an increasing prison population, this trend reversal certainly begs one to question what is actually going on. For our part here in Ceres, it does appear to be a case of a parolee population increase.

Street Crime officers are making traffic stops during routine enforcement efforts and find these vehicles occupied by two and sometimes four parolees - none of whom are employed or have any other visible means of support. We are finding them out on the streets late at night riding bicycles, creeping down alleyways, hanging out behind buildings and otherwise acting suspiciously. And as the officers stop these individuals in connection with traffic violations and other "probable cause" contacts, they are finding them to be in possession of illegal drugs, burglary tools, stolen property, and, many are under the influence of alcohol and other controlled substances. We are also finding multiple parolees living together in homes or apartments. Many parolees are living on the streets as "urban outdoorsmen," who rely on thefts of various items, including metals, they commit ID theft and in some instances get involved in violent crimes to maintain their daily lifestyles.

Regardless of actual statistics, parolees seem abundant in Ceres and the county as a whole. The point of this article is to help the public stay informed on the safety issues facing the community, to be alert to these potential crime violators and for us to let the parolees know that the police are watching and have orders to exercise a zero tolerance towards their crimes.