Rosamond business owners concerned about increase in crimes

KCSO substation closed last year
Posted at 6:19 PM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-02 17:48:44-04

Five times -- that's how many times Alfredo Esparza's restaurant Mimi's Burgers in Rosamond has been broken into since last Christmas.


“It’s not safe. There’s no police," Esparza said. "Rosamond is not safe.”

Broken windows and cash registers are problems he is growing tired of.

"We're just not safe here, and I think we need to bring in more police so that we can be a little bit more safe."

Last fall the Kern County Sheriff's Office closed their Rosamond substation due to budget cuts -- the next closest substation is now in Mojave 14 miles away.

RELATED: KCSO shutting down Rosamond substation

“We have decreased the staff throughout the county due to the lack of bodies," Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said.

The department is currently down 100 deputy sheriffs and it takes over a year to replace someone with the proper training. This is the second year of a four year plan on taking cuts.

While Youngblood said one sergeant and seven other deputies are assigned to the Rosamond area, they are looking in to renting a different space in Rosamond for their officers.

"The fact that there's a building or no building really doesn't have a significant impact," Sheriff Youngblood said "It's the number of officers assigned to that particular area that matter."

In the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, KCSO received 10,415 calls in Rosamond, 4 percent of the overall calls for service in the county. In the 2016 to 2017 year, they received 8,680 calls for the area.

While Rosamond hasn't seen a significant increase in crime, according to Youngblood, the county has.

Yet Alfredo isn't the only local business owner dealing with crime -- Sam Safar's Smoke Shop was broken into earlier this month.

On Sunday, August 13 a pickup truck backed into his storefront seven times, causing a lot of damage. The burglars took money, the cash register, and items.

"I have problem, police no come in, no answer," he said. "I can't live here...I need to move from here because of the system here, no police, no nothing."

"Rosamond's had a lot of marijuana dispensaries that have somewhat unsavory characters hanging around and that adds to this fear that the community is unsafe," Sheriff Youngblood said.

The budget for KCSO and other county departments is decided by the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

The Kern Law Enforcement Association took to Facebook in response to this story to remind citizens to always report criminal activity to authorities so elected officials see and understand the magnitude of the problem.