Community Safety - It Takes a Village and Starts at Home
Earlier this year, as LARCS Board President, Greg Sink helped organize a meeting between LARMAC, LARCS, Supervisor Katrina Foley, 5th District Orange County, and representatives from the California Highway Patrol, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and the Orange County Fire Authority to discuss the state of community safety.
This initial meeting laid the groundwork for LARMAC and these public safety agencies to improve how they work together to address issues such as ebikes, public safety, crime, and fire prevention. These agencies have the right leadership, they are well-equipped and prepared to do their job. Following the meeting, which was productive, one fact was clear to all in attendance – community safety is a joint effort with residents.
When it comes to the issue of public safety, it truly takes a village. Law enforcement, politicians, and the homeowner association can’t solve public safety and conduct issues themselves in a vacuum.
Residents are essential to making an impact.
Whether the crime, code of conduct violation, or malicious behavior is committed on LARMAC property, on County streets, or in business parks, law enforcement requires help from residents.
There are many more residents than there are officers in the community. With timely reporting that includes photos, video, location, and incident details, officers are able to take action.
“In my experience, when residents take pride in and are active in their community, criminal activity is curtailed.” Sergeant Justin Barba with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.
“When residents maintain situational awareness, make safety a priority, secure their personal effects and property, install and use security technology, and strengthen communication and relationships with their neighbors, this sets a strong foundation and is the best way residents can partner with law enforcement,” Barba continued.
See Something. Say Something.
Residents play an important role in strengthening the sense of community in Ladera Ranch. As a resident, if you see something, say something. If you see an individual doing something good or acting productively, let them know you appreciate it. Validate good behavior and traits in others, especially young people, and how their behavior adds value to our community. On the contrary, if you see bad behavior, speak up and report it.
As the master homeowner association for Ladera Ranch, LARMAC is doing what it can by enforcing the Community Guidelines, which is a governing document that every homeowner agrees to abide by. It outlines the Community Values and a Code of Conduct.
Recently a teenager was called to an association hearing for his behavior – blocking a woman from leaving a driveway and displaying a lewd gesture in defiance after she asked him to move his bike. Another hearing involved a teen who vandalized association property. Because residents were able to provide timely documentation and photos, LARMAC was able to investigate, call the homeowner to a hearing, and assess fines and charges to repair damages.
The fine for damage to LARMAC property is $1,500, plus the cost to repair the damage. The fine for a Code of Conduct violation is $500.
Faces of Public Safety in Ladera Ranch
Katrina Foley, Supervisor Fifth District, County of Orange
Elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2022, Supervisor Foley represents the newly established District 5, which includes south Orange County cities and communities. Known as a woman of action, she works tirelessly to protect our beaches, parks, and open spaces, ensure safe neighborhoods, and provide the resources law enforcement and the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) need to do their jobs well.
Supervisor Foley is a hands-on community leader, keenly aware of the needs of her south county constituents and agencies under her authority. After becoming aware of incidents that threatened the safety of residents this summer, she promptly called a meeting with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and other officials to address the issues, which included reallocating resources as needed.
Residents may sign up for Supervisor Foley’s newsletter at d5.ocgov.com/newsletter
Captain Brad Palmer, California Highway Patrol
The primary role of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is traffic safety, traffic enforcement, crime prevention, and community engagement. One of the most pressing issues that CHP is focused is bicycle/ebike safety.
Bicycles and ebikes must follow all the same rules of the road as motor vehicles. They must stop at red lights and stop signs, ride with the flow of traffic and closest to the right curb as possible, also ride in bike lanes when available. Parents are encouraged to actively educate their kids on the responsibilities and dangers of sharing the road with motor vehicles.
Capt. Palmer shares, “Helmets are required for all riders and passengers under 18 years riding Class 1 and 2 ebikes, and for all ages on Class 3 ebikes. They can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries. Most ebikes are not equipped with an additional seat for passengers. Passengers are not authorized to ride on the handlebars, pegs or to share a seat with the operator of the ebike."
Read the interview with Captain Palmer
Sergeant Justin Barba, Orange County Sheriff’s Department
When it comes to deterring crime and promoting public safety Sgt. Justin Barba suggests that residents enhance their situational awareness and become actively involved in the community. Residents can serve as their Neighborhood Representatives through LARMAC, serve on committees, participate in the Neighborhood Watch program, and attend association meetings.
The OCSD teaches residents to look for signs of suspicious activity, recognize potential threats, and report issues of concern. Barba notes that the use of technology such as surveillance cameras, video doorbells, additional lighting, and other security devices enhances situational awareness in neighborhoods and around the home.
See Something. Say Something.
It’s as easy as 1-2-3
- Know whom to call
- Document the incident
- File a report
LARMAC Property Vandalism & Graffiti
Text or call: (949) 351-9253
Traffic and e-Bike Issues
California Highway Patrol (CHP)
Non-emergency: (949) 670-7030
Crime or Suspicious Activity
Orange County Sheriff's Department
Non-emergency: (949) 770-6011