Even with no new deputies, the city can get tough on crime

Carson City hasn't heard the last of the efforts to put more deputies on the streets, and that's a good thing if you agree with the sheriff that the city's gang problem is growing and the district attorney's belief that the city is at a crossroads in fighting crime.

But it won't come cheap and there's no certainty that even if city leaders put an advisory question on the ballot asking for more money that residents already struggling to make ends meet will vote "yes."

What is certain is that in the short term, making this a safer place to live is in the hands of the deputies we have, along with the help of residents who care enough to make a phone call.

We hope the announcement of a Secret Witness program in Carson City makes as great a difference here as it has in other communities in Northern Nevada, where it has been a key in solving hundreds of crimes. It allows people to phone in crimes who may otherwise have feared being identified by the criminals. It also pays rewards when criminals are convicted.

Criminals are smart enough to victimize the vulnerable parts of a community, the places where people are least likely to be vigilant or are too intimidated to call law enforcement. District Attorney Neil Rombardo's description of their strategy to combat gangs could aptly be applied to criminals in general: "If they can't feel comfortable here, and they're constantly having to move, they'll leave," he said.

Secret Witness just may be the key to making all criminals uncomfortable in Carson City.

We recommend you program the Secret Witness phone number - 322-4900 - into your cell phone. The number for students to report a crime at school is 283-1799. To learn more about the program, visit the Web site www.secretwitness.com.

• This editorial represents the view of the Nevada Appeal Editorial Board.


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