Carson City is generally safer for people than for property, Sheriff Kenny Furlong told more than two dozen retired federal workers and their wives on Tuesday.
Furlong told members of the Carson City chapter of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees most crime in the city is aimed at property, not residents themselves.
"I read most reports that come into the sheriff's department, so sometimes I overreact a little," he said Tuesday. "But Carson City is a very safe town."
Furlong stressed that in some cases the property damage has been substantial. And there have been individual incidents of violence, such as the disappearance of video store owner Bertha Anguiano.
"We've had houses devastated by vandals," he said. "People have had huge boulders the size of a toaster being hurled at their houses. Imagine being home and have one of these rocks come through your wall."
He said thefts from vehicles and homes have been on the rise.
"The southeast side has been hit really hard and that is normally the quietest part of town," he said. "Arrests for burglary are up 6 percent, but so are the burglaries, so I'm not bragging."
Furlong warned people to protect themselves by not leaving valuables in vehicles and locking their homes.
"When something has happened you should report it," he said. "You're not a bad person because you left your wallet or purse in the car."
When asked about speeders along Roop and Saliman streets, Furlong pointed out that deputies have written 4,500 tickets since July. He has assigned a sergeant and four deputies to the traffic division.
Reflecting on his first year in office, Furlong noted 30-40 Explorer cadets graduated Monday from a three-day training program. Furlong revived the cadet program early in his administration.
"We've only had sponsorship from the Boy Scouts for 6-8 months," he said. "Several of our prominent citizens began as cadets." Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini began his law enforcement career as a Carson City cadet. Supervisor Richard Staub was a cadet.
"Our really new program is to get volunteers out on the street," he said.
The volunteers will check houses, assist in traffic control at accidents and fires, patrol handicap parking spaces and work abandoned-vehicle cases.
"A volunteer can free up an officer for the two hours it would take to do the paperwork on a single case," he said. Furlong said the number of patrol volunteers has risen from zero to 19.
"We hope to staff two shifts by the end of the year," he said.
Furlong said support from the community was one of the reasons he went to Carson High School to get help with the department's Web site.
"The Web site is new this year, but lots of people have Web sites," he said. "We had a Carson High School kid design and develop our Web site. It is important that we get the people we are trying to target to help us."
The Sheriff's Office also expanded its reserve program from four officers to 20.
Furlong also pointed out four pedestrians lost their lives on Carson City streets during the year.
"But not one of those deaths can be attributed to the driver," he said.
Contact Kurt Hildebrand at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1215.