Shooting sparks crackdown
When a 16-year-old Sacramento youth was hurt in a possible drive-by shooting outside the River's Bend Apartments on Sampson Street last week, it wasn't an anomaly.
Police say that complex is one of two in East Marysville where officers consistently battle gang violence, drug use and other pervasive criminal behavior.
Marysville police say crime in those two spots - in the 1700 block of Sampson and the 1300 block of Hobart Drive - occurs in higher concentrations than anywhere else.
“They're spikes,” Officer Chris Black said of the two locations. “We don't have any matching areas of criminality in the city.”
In a way, the May 10 shooting, which is still under investigation, was the straw that broke the camel's back. For four days last week, Marysville police put more officers on patrol in those areas and netted more than a dozen arrests. Some of the suspects are known gang members.
“It's just been more and more prevalent that our calls for service are going up in that area,” said Sgt. Chris Sachs.
So far this year, Sachs said, officers have responded to more than 100 calls of fights, vehicle thefts and burglaries, vandalism and drug use at the 80-unit River's Bend, located at 1712 Sampson St.
There have been more than 70 calls for service to the two buildings at 1036 and 1308 Hobart, which have four apartment units each.
A manager at River's Bend declined to comment, citing corporate policy prohibiting interviews with the media. A receptionist at Sierra Pacific Management Co. in Yuba City, which operates the Hobart properties, said managers weren't available for comment.
One woman who lives at River's Bend said crime is so commonplace that she slept through last week's shooting.
“There's been a lot of trouble here. The cops have been called here constantly,” said Diana, 60, who asked that her last name not be published. “All of our good people are moving out.”
Diana moved into her small apartment in December 2004 after living off and on with family members who have since moved out of state. It was quiet then, she said. Her only income is disability pension and federal housing subsidies, she said, so she's unlikely to move out.
“I can't leave. I don't have family here,” she said. “I can't drive. I can't carry a box down the stairs. So I'm stuck.”
Black said River's Bend was a problem area years ago when a different manager operated it under a different name, and officers would visit the complex seven to eight times a day.
Police stepped up enforcement for a period and things died down, he said, until new managers - who weren't aware of the long rap sheets of people moving back in - took over.
Some of the people causing problems in both East Marysville spots don't live in the apartments, but they know people who do or have family there, police said. When police run them off from one place, they just go to the other.
From Thursday through Saturday last week, and for 12 hours each day, Marysville police had as many as eight officers assigned solely to Sampson and Hobart, Sachs said. The “maximum enforcement” operation, he said, was a direct reaction to the drive-by shooting.
Out of 15 people arrested, police confirmed nine to have gang ties. Two guns were confiscated. Everyone arrested was between the ages of 16 and 25.
Pending charges for suspects run the gamut: brandishing a firearm, probation violations, drug offenses and so on.
Sachs said police hope their presence will calm things down. “We showed a presence,” he said. “We showed we're not going to tolerate it.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Daniel Thigpen can be reached at 749-4713. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.