As crime explodes, Vallejo cops shut pot clubs


Vallejo police seem to have it out for their local medicinal marijuana dispensaries. This week, police raided their third club in three weeks, the latest assault in their private war on pot collectives in Vallejo.

Vallejo police said they are merely enforcing state laws that prohibit dispensaries from selling at a profit.

However, crime statistics suggest Vallejo police should concentrate on enforcing laws that prohibit murder and violent crime instead.

Preliminary crime data for the first half of 2011 shows violent crime in Vallejo shot up nearly 14 percent, with alarming jumps in murder and aggravated assault from the same period in 2010. 436 violent crimes and 2,495 property crimes were reported in the first six months 2011 in this city of 115,942.

Aggravated assault climbed a whopping 46 percent, with double-digit increases in rape, theft, vehicle theft and overall property crime.

Meanwhile, Red Dog Green Collective was the latest dispensary to be shuttered by police raids. On Friday, the club’s owners were arrested and about 20 pounds worth of pot were seized.

Red Dog had been closed for several days for a city inspection, but had promised via Twitter to be open this weekend. Seven customers were in the club at the time of the raid, Vallejo police told the Vallejo Times-Herald.

The club had first been closed in late February, and had changed ownership in an attempt to stay open, according to their Twitter feed. Friday’s raid appears to have occurred within hours of their re-opening.

Vallejo’s police force had been slashed in recent years along with other city services during its three-year bankruptcy. Even though the city emerged from bankruptcy in November, Vallejo’s police remain staffed at levels below that of similarly-sized cities.

All of the 20 or so storefront medicinal marijuana dispensaries remain under investigation by Vallejo police.

Vallejo’s rising crime rates

Population: 115,942
Crime / Jan-June 2010 / Jan-June 2011 / increase (decrease)
Violent crime / 383 / 436 / 14%
Murder 4 / 10 / 150%
Forcible rape 24 / 29 / 21%
Robbery 220 / 199 / (10%)
Agg Assault 135 / 198 / 46%
Prop Crime 2,249 / 2,495 / 11%
Burglary 1,068 / 1,163 / 9%
Larceny theft 737 / 829 / 13%
Motor vehicle theft 444 / 503 / 12%
Arson 22 / 18 / (18%)
SOURCE: FBI Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January – June 2011
Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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