Lack of police resources: Taggers in sight but no response

Lack of police resources: Taggers in sight but no response »Play Video
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Police have a system in place to ensure that serious crimes are dealt with first. But, what happens when a call comes in that isn't a matter of life or death but the perpetrators are in eyesight?

A man reached out to Eyewitness News for answers after he said police took too long to respond to his call involving vandalism.

Gary Calvillo said he called police Monday afternoon three time after he saw a group of teenager spray painting the side of a building off the Oswell exit on Highway 178.

"A group of minors, about five or six of them, and we saw them with spray cans, and they were tagging the concrete and the poles and the building, " said Calvillo.

He said he was told the call was dispatched, but when officers didn't show up he grew more and more upset.

“I said, ‘They were doing it right now!’ They tell us all the time that when something is going on to call. We'll, I’m calling right now!” said Calvillo.

Police Sgt. Joe Grubbs explained there is protocol when dealing with the calls that come into the department.

"Unfortunately, we have a finite number of resources. In this case, it’s police officers who are available to respond at any given time. There's more calls and more things going on than officers to respond,” said Grubbs.

To properly deal with the number of resources, the police department categorizes calls. For example: violent crimes, murders or bad crashes are ranked as “category one,” because they require immediate police attention.

In this case, crimes like graffiti and vandalism are listed as "category two." Though, Calvillo said because he caught the vandals in the act his call should have been taken more seriously.

"I would categorize this as a 'one,' because it's making our city look terrible. You see it all over the place," said Calvillo.

Police said categorizing calls is necessary to make sure all matters or life or death are handled first. They ask that the public remain patient when waiting for an officer response.