Anza residents invited to law enforcement town hall meeting

Diane Sieker

Lt. Paul Bennet of the Riverside County Sherriff’s Department’s Marijuana Enforcement Team explains to community members how the team is working to eradicate the illegal marijuana grows in the area during a May 26 Town Hall Meeting held at the Anza Community Hall. Kim Harris photo
Lt. Paul Bennet of the Riverside County Sherriff’s Department’s Marijuana Enforcement Team, shown here is 2016, is just one of many speakers who will appear at a town hall meeting in Anza April 20. Kim Harris photo

Administrators of the Facebook group Anza Crime Watch will present a law enforcement town hall meeting at the Community Hall in Anza, April 20 at 6 p.m. Members of this social media group have expressed many concerns about crime in the local area. Organizing a meeting with various law enforcement officials makes them available to answer questions and provide tips in a community atmosphere.

The list of law enforcement personnel that will be attending includes members of the California Highway Patrol, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and other county representatives.

Capt. Kari Clark of the California Highway Patrol, Supervising Code Officer Marr Christian of Riverside County Code Enforcement, Riverside County Sheriff Capt. Leonard Purvis, Capt. Scott Madden of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Special Investigations Bureau, Lt. Paul Bennett of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Special Investigations Bureau/Marijuana Enforcement Team, Lt. Chad Bianco of Hemet Sheriff’s Station, Deputy Frank James of Hemet Sheriff’s Station and a representative from Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington’s office are all slated to be present.

This opportunity to connect with these people should not be missed. They will be available to answer questions, provide tips and discuss important issues.

Among the concerns expressed by locals are an increase in “illegal” cannabis “grows” or farms. Light pollution emanating from the greenhouses at night, the constant sounds of generators, unpermitted grading, bootlegged wells, and a perceived increase in criminal activity associated with these locations are major matters to be addressed. Squatters and the cultivating marijuana on vacant properties is becoming epidemic.

Citizens are also worried about property crimes. Local “chop shops” and career criminals seem to be continuing their crimes with no end in sight. There is a lack of police presence that has people concerned. Mail theft is an increasing crime in this area as well. Even aggressive and irresponsible drivers seem to be an increasing threat to local residents.

Purvis said he is looking forward to attending the meeting and learning about what he can do to help the community as a whole.

“This meeting will provide residents with the opportunity to meet the law enforcement personnel serving their community and learn more about the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department,” he said. “I invite all residents to attend in the hope we can come together to discuss community issues and build relationships.”

Guests are encouraged to bring baked goods and snacks. Coffee and water will be provided.

For more information on the Anza Crime Watch Facebook group, visit

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