Elk Grove Police Chief Tim Albright said there has been an increase in domestic violence cases in Elk Grove this year. He addressed the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the city and its police force during a public safety update that he delivered on Sept. 3.

The Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce hosted the online session that morning when he also spoke about his police department’s new service programs and law enforcement technology.

Albright believed that the increase in domestic violence cases could be due to household tensions during the pandemic.

“That’s what we’re seeing across the nation – people are isolating together as a family,” he said. “With the challenges from job loss and the financial challenges, we’re seeing an uptick in that type of crime.”

This year’s domestic violence statistics were not available to the Citizen, as of press time.

Albright mentioned in his speech that the Elk Grove police has a Family Crime Unit and his staff works with an advocate from WEAVE (Women Escaping A Violent Environment) to help domestic violence victims get counseling or safety in a shelter. He said that domestic violence is the most common type of aggravated assault case in Elk Grove.

The police chief said that Elk Grove generally saw decreases in reported violent and property crimes as well as calls for police service so far this year.  

In his speech, Albright introduced several new police programs including ones that seek community participation. The police have a Business Watch program that encourages participating business owners to share information on crime issues – Albright compared it to Elk Grove’s Neighborhood Watch program.

Business owners and residents are also invited to register their security cameras in the police’s CCTV program. Albright said that camera owners can voluntarily provide their video footage to detectives when they’re investigating a crime. His example is a case where a crime happens near the corner of Laguna Boulevard and Bruceville Road – investigators could email every registered camera owner within a mile to see if they have footage of a suspect.

“It’s just a way to leverage our digital footprint in the city,” Albright said.

He mentioned there are 400 registered cameras in this program.  

During his presentation, the police chief also shared details about his staff’s Real Time Information Center that’s housed at their police station and displays live camera feeds, social media information, police drone camera feeds, and police service calls across the city. He said that police used that system last year to quickly locate and arrest a homicide suspect who was wanted out of Livermore.

Albright also said that the police recently received a mobile command center in a 28-foot truck that’s designed to aid investigators at crime scenes. He said that the vehicle was paid by state asset forfeiture funds and not city general fund dollars.

Albright also addressed the police’s work in assisting Elk Grove’s homeless population – he said they have two Homeless Outreach Officers to help connect individuals to resources to get them out of homelessness. They made more than 150 contacts, he said.

“You can’t arrest your way out of a homeless challenge,” the police chief said.

Albright noted that officers also distributed face coverings, trash bags, and hand sanitizer to help stop the spread of COVID-19 among the local homeless. More than 900 trash bags were given out at homeless camps, he said.

Near the end of his update, Albright said that Elk Grove did not experience property damages or social unrest during local protests this summer over the George Floyd incident and other high-profile police brutality cases across the country.

Albright mentioned that Elk Grove police officers offered water and snacks to demonstrators who rallied at the corner of Bruceville Road and Laguna Boulevard in June.

“I’m proud of our community for frankly doing the right thing,” he said.