Crime in Chaffee County

Last night, (12-30-23) Salida PD officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle and K9 Sarge was deployed. Sarge alerted and the vehicle was searched, resulting in the seizure of almost 400 fentanyl pills, suspected ketamine and cocaine. Both occupants were arrested. Good boy Sarge!!!

It was later learned that Mathew Prieto and Mathew Hunter were allegedly involved.

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Anonymous source says the Police have been issuing Trespassing Citations to the homeless transients following calls from property and businesses owners. There are daily calls. The encampments have grown. There is reportedly one encampment off of CR 153 near Train tracks and under bridge.

I drove by there yesterday, but did not see an encampment from the road. There were several No Trespassing signs posted on the nearby properties.

Anonymous source says the last night (1-3-23) this male was found again trespassing on a vacant property near the area of Biker and the Baker. Someone reported him.There was a confrontation and either the trespasser or the person struggling with him went to ER at the Heart of Rockies.

Salida Police call logs from Jun 1, 2022 to January 11, 2024.

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Dear editor,

Is Salida the Big Rock Candy Mountain?

Recent letters mentioning increased Salida crime generated denial/contempt. One self-appointed critic denounced “dystopian” visions. Need proof? I requested the Salida Police call logs from 6/1/22 to present. No names. Information included: Call Number, Date/Time, Location, and Call Type. The number of Police Calls tripled from 2022 to 2023!

Common call types: Harassment, Domestic, Civil Dispute, Assault, Theft, Disruptive Person, Criminal Mischief, Trespassing, Burglary, Protection Order Violation, Disturbance-Fight, Drug Investigation, Intoxicated Subject, Weapons, and Traffic Stops. Chief Johnson releases yearly crime statistics in February.

Are traffic stops minor? The recent fentanyl bust was a traffic stop, shout-out to SPD and Sarge!

These thousands of calls came from businesses, schools, homes, and parks. Six call types were redacted as required by law: Sex Assaults, Child Abuse, Mental Health, Juveniles, Suicide Attempts/Completions, or Medical.

Reluctantly, I have posted this call log online. You will see the sheer volume, the inferred pain of victims, and the hardship of this new normal on law enforcement. Crime in Chaffee County - #5 by GetReadyMan - Chaffee County - Chaffee County Discourse

Why a new normal? Can’t something be done? We need policy solutions, both political and civilian. Recognize that our children face a lesser world than we inherited. How can we restore security and safety, so we no longer need a sharp’s container for used hypodermic needles in front of the library?

Two proposed solutions:

First, one frightfully common call location is the Salida Ridge Apartments. Opened late 2022, this affordable housing development was partially populated with troubled individuals from well outside Chaffee County, and now strains local Social Services. The city and ownership owe us an explanation: how was SRA touted as affordable housing for locals, only to create a blight on our town? The city and ownership must fix Salida Ridge, and prevent a recurrence.

Second, an influx of migrants to Denver will impact Salida this summer. More transients will seek out the relative calm and generous people of Salida. Last summer peaked with 3-5 transients/day arriving on the Denver-Salida Bus. I propose eliminating the Salida Bustang stop. Route from BV straight to Montrose. The current $15 bus ride allows too-easy migration for transients from Denver.

Hate my Bustang proposal? I do too! Who willingly embraces sacrificing freedom for security? So please offer your own solution instead.

We must unite to dispel the growing perception that Salida is “The Big Rock Candy Mountain. tinyurl.com/ycxx8cak

Vince Phillips, Salida

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I wonder if the fire at 400 Railroad St was vandalism, or the hobos trying to keep warm and the fire got out of control.

The truck in the river was stolen before being rolled into the river by the thief.

Don’t leave your vehicle running unattended!

Picture of the building fire:

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Click to enlarge…

Dear Editor,

Workforce housing was Salida’s biggest problem 1-3 years ago. No longer. I now prioritize housing #5, behind crime, drugs , the chronic homelessness, and endangered local businesses, in no particular order.

Council seems blissfully unaware of the risks we face. Businesses dependent on the tourist economy have laid off employees, reduced hours, and slashed wages to remain solvent until summer. We won’t need workforce housing if there is no work. Council should temporarily pivot to helping existing businesses stay open, instead of their single-minded focus on last year’s priorities.

Linda Taylor’s flippant appraisal: “I walked down F Street and was disappointed that several businesses had closed but was delighted those new businesses had opened. Things come and go. It doesn’t mean that a town is dying.”

For many owners their business is both their livelihood and their dream. Shuttering is devastating economically and emotionally to owners, employees, and the community, and must not be trivialized. In a struggling economy, who will risk a new venture when formerly thriving businesses just failed? Once existing businesses close, expect years of empty storefronts. Think it can’t happen? Check out former world-class destination San Francisco: tinyurl.com/ruwct8zk

Instead of helping our troubled business community, Council actions are making things worse.

Last week Council approved paid-parking in Salida despite near-universal opposition. A contract virtually devoid of detail was signed, impacting an area much larger than most realize: map above.

Council then refused to lower the 40% STR tax, inexplicably claiming high taxation does not deter buyers. If true, why not levy a 40% tax on everything?

Still awaiting an explanation from the city/CHA regarding the catastrophe at Salida Ridge. Let me get them started: pitched to the public as workforce housing, local workers were rejected in favor of out-of-county/state Section 8 qualifiers. Local officials intentionally imported troubled high-risk individuals into Salida. They were hoping to be showered with grants from their grateful federal government. Instead, we Salidans all suffer for their miscalculation.

CHA’s Fed manipulation plan must not have worked, since they have come back with another biased survey, seeking tax increases to finance the next Salida Ridge.

Admit it or deny it, but don’t demonstrate contempt for voters by refusing to address it.

A reminder of who we have to thank for Salida Ridge: Salida Ridge Apartments - An Important Milestone for Affordable Housing - by Community Contributor - Ark Valley Voice

Do public officials lack the self-awareness to realize their actions are wreaking havoc on the local economy?

Vince Phillips, Salida

What the Flock?

Great perspective on the problems also facing Chaffee County.