Close to Home: Jacobs Park, my neighborhood, needs help

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I live near Jacobs Park. I own my home. I was born and raised in Santa Rosa. I love my neighborhood. I watch the egrets and cranes, flying overhead this time of year with their wide white wings stretched out while bird watchers set up cameras to catch a shot.

I hear children laughing and playing and running after the ice cream man on his bike with his bells ringing.

At night, a taco truck stops by the field where young men and boys play soccer. The lights of the truck twinkle, and I can hear their Latin radio stations playing.

On the weekends, bounce houses pop up and fold-up tables and chairs come out for barbecues and birthday parties, and you can smell the food cooking.

After last week’s shooting (“Gunfire injures three,” Thursday), I watched the Santa Rosa police officer explain to the press what happened at Jacobs Park and answer questions relating to the department’s plans and whether there is gang activity regularly in this area.

Everyone knows good and well that that corner is inhabited and claimed by gangs. To pretend ignorance is to be complicit in the danger we live in.

A news report says the soccer team will find a new place to play. Will the school be moved as well? Probably not.

It’s an elementary school. Kindergartners go there and play in the grass every day. In the morning, moms and dads walk their little ones to school, and the crossing guard is out to ensure that they get in safe. I watch the mommies make the sign of the cross on their babies and kiss them goodbye.

My adult friends went to Lincoln Elementary School. My coworker’s son played on that soccer team. Her husband was among those shot.

How many shootings have to happen for police to act?

Are we left to fend for ourselves?

Increased patrols won’t cut it.

Our condo complex has our own security I was told they’re required to wear bulletproof vests. Food delivery services won’t deliver to our area.

I believe the Santa Rosa Police Department has created this mess. Ignoring violence, especially in this area, allows it to get worse. And look what happened.

There is a satellite police office on Steele Lane. We need one here, too.

Are small children not valuable enough for our police department to make them a high priority?

Jan Apala is a resident of Santa Rosa.

You can send a letter to the editor at

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