New study shows crime spike, increased workload on Chico police force

A new study from the Chico Chamber of Commerce gives insight into the impacts of the population surge from the Camp Fire on the city of Chico.

Posted: Feb 22, 2019 12:09 PM

CHICO, Calif. - A new study from the Chico Chamber of Commerce gives insight into the impacts of the population surge from the Camp Fire on the city of Chico.

The chamber says that the new study shows a spike in crime, an increased workload on Chico police and no funding to address these issues. 

Police Chief Mike O'Brien says that with the current city population after the Camp Fire, the department will need to add 15-20 additional officers. 

The department already added four officers to the Street Crime Unit on Tuesday.

O'Brien said that there could be long-term impacts if the city cannot meet the demand for public protection. 

"The demand is what is impacting our community from public safety and from a law enforcement perspective," O'Brien said. "So that is where my concern lies. Are there going to be areas where maybe we can't get to a call as quickly because our staff is burdened with additional calls for service? Those are the great unknowns that we do not know right now." 

Community members are also feeling the impact of the population surge and its effect on public safety. 

"It wasn't safe when there were enough police officers before this happened, so it'll be a little scary with the college kids coming back," said Lauri Alcala, a resident in Chico. "So yeah, it'll be a little scary." 

O'Brien said the city doesn't have the money budgeted to add more staff, but they are working to come up with a solution. 

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