Thanks for the link. Very interesting.
About a year ago I went from doing consulting work in NYC to full time, resulting in a permanent relocation. When I was traveling back and forth between the east coast and Santa Cruz I knew that there was a difference in my perception of safety between the two cities, but I was still used to seeing certain things in Santa Cruz that didn't make me look twice. Now that the visits to Santa Cruz are less often, I see and experience things I never really noticed before.
First, I now realize I totally do not feel safe in Santa Cruz compared to NYC, D.C, Chicago, Houston, or anywhere in Europe. I now notice how really bad Santa Cruz can be. Its not the stupid students or the partying tourists. it another element that is really scummy and violent acting. And not just at night. Imagine sleepy little Santa Cruz feeling less safe than some of the biggest cities in the world. It's shocking.
The second thing that jumps out at me more than ever is the homeless situation. It's noticeably far worse than anywhere I travel. I'm not talking about the average person from Santa Cruz that has hit a bump in the road and needs some help, but its the aggressive, dirty, drug and alcohol ridden, self entitled bums hanging around all over the place. When you've been away for awhile and then come back it smacks you in the face. And people around the rest of the country notice it too. Everyone I know that has visited Santa Cruz, from the US and Europe, all say the same thing: "Oh my God, the amount of homeless".
Like the author of the information on the linked site, when you bring this up to city and county leaders they don't want to hear about the truth. If someone really looks at the data and starts asking questions, they don't want to talk about it. I was shocked to see a Patch article recently where Don Lane goes on his homeless whitewash screed, and then admits at the end that he asked to have the comments disabled. When told that was not possible, he admits to getting all comments deleted. They're literally sticking their heads in the sand to avoid honest dialogue. They dont want to hear the truth. And the fact that they held off the release of the homeless census results simply to figure out how to spin the discussion is sickening. Some of the new council members are good, but who knows the pressure they receive in private.
It's sad to see the city going where it is.