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Lincoln safest city in county

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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The Lincoln Police Department has a lot to smile about, as the city of Lincoln has the lowest violent crime percentage in Placer County. Comparing statistics from the California Department of Justice for Lincoln with those of other Placer County cities, the Lincoln Police Department recently determined Lincoln’s crime rate in 2008 to be 14 per 1,000 residents, according to Lincoln Police Chief Brian Vizzusi. The two cities in Placer County closest to Lincoln’s low crime rate are Rocklin and Folsom, with 24 crimes per 1,000, Vizzusi said. “Placer County is a really safe county,” Vizzusi said. “I think that we live in a very crime-free county and to have the lowest crime rate is a great thing.” This is the second consecutive year that Lincoln was the safest city in the county, according to Vissuzi. Much of the credit for that low crime rate goes to Lincoln’s police officers and also the efforts of community members, according to Vizzusi. “We saw crime drop when we started our (Citizens On Patrol) program almost six years ago and we continue to add to our volunteer program,” Vizzusi said. The COPs are l volunteers and work “as the eyes and ears” of the police department and spend many hours with crime-prevention programs. Those programs include home checks while residents are on vacation, the If I Were a Thief Program where COPs leave notes on vehicles to point out potential crimes of opportunity and assistance with Neighborhood Watch programs. “We’re definitely proud of our guys,” said Sgt. Brandon Lebrecht. “We have a lot of hardworking officers who really work as a team.” Echoing Vizzusi, Lebrecht said the low crime rate is due in large part to efforts of the volunteer staff, Neighborhood Watch groups, proactive crime-prevention by police officers and programs such as Redirect and the Police Activities League. “I think the biggest way that PAL, Redirect, 4-H, Little League and all the other youth organizations help prevent crime is by giving the kids something positive to do with people who have their best interests in mind,” said Lt. Paul Shelgren. Lincoln Crossing resident Katheryn McKeon had her house broken into two years ago but still is safe here. “A lot of it is crimes of opportunity,” McKeon said. “I feel very safe here in Lincoln.” Sun City Lincoln Hills resident Dennis Bowcut said he was a little distressed earlier this year with some gang activity but was pleased to hear about the low crime statistics. “I think that’s great,” Bowcut said. “I mean, what can I say? It feels very safe and it’s a great place to live.” Aside from just being a comfort to current residents, low crime statistics help real-estate agents sell homes in Lincoln, which brings in much-needed property taxes – a large part of which goes to fund public safety. “It’s absolutely a good thing,” said David Dorer, a Realtor and owner of NorCal Town and Country, a real estate brokerage. According to Dorer, the two statistics potential residents look at when moving to a new city are school ratings and crime statistics. “It backs up the feeling of our hometown,” Dorer said. “It’s a good environment.” Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at brandond@goldcountrymedia.com.