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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP / East County | Thousand Oaks

Condo Owners Say Their Area Is Safe

October 21, 2000|JOSH KARP

Conejo Creek condominium owners said Friday they don't need a full-time police officer on patrol, despite what others have argued.

Homeowners in the Newbury Park complex said a Neighborhood Watch program and a new community center have improved the area since two April shootings.

The comments came at a news conference called in response to concerns raised Tuesday by residents of the nearby Running Springs apartment complex, alleging that Conejo Creek remains dangerous.

Officials from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department attended the Friday news conference to show support for the Conejo Creek residents.

Since the shootings, 26 people have joined the Neighborhood Watch, said Sonia Martinez, a board member and Conejo Creek resident for the past three years.

"Now we walk around and hardly ever see people drinking like they did before," she said. "We hardly ever see gang wannabes. They see us and know we're here to keep peace and make sure everything's fine."

Sheriff's Cmdr. Keith Parks, who serves as Thousand Oaks' police chief, said much of the neighborhood's crime is down 50% over the first nine months of this year compared with 1995. He pointed to an overall decrease in aggravated assault, burglary, robbery and petty theft.

Gregory Charles, a Running Springs resident who held the Tuesday news conference, maintains that more needs to be done.

"I believe those people are doing the best job they can, but I don't believe it's going to last," he said.

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