Gina Ayala’s fiance got arrested days after operation falling sun. She says her fiance turned his life around. He got a job, went back to school and turned to God. But, a mistake by parole officers landed her soon-to-be husband back in jail.
“It’s a waste of taxpayers money your taking a parolee who’s not violating, he’s not violating,” say Ayala. “The violators take I’ll pay, I’ll pay, but him, no, that’s a waste of our money.”
Parole violators are subject to random searches. Desert Hot Springs police are paying close attention to these violators since operation falling sun.
“You gave up some rights when you committed whatever underlying crime you committed so now it’s our obligation to honor that commitment that you made through probation and parole and were gonna follow up,” says Desert Hot Springs Police Chief Patrick Williams.
Major crime in the city is down significantly since 2006, more than 20 percent. Officer’s say Operation Falling Sun served as a wake-up call to criminals. People who live and work in Desert Hot Springs are glad. “Thank you DHS Police!” is painted across Glossy, a thrift store in DHS.
“The customers are really happy. They come in and they thank me and the police just smile and wave as they come around the corner,” says store owner Delinda Angelo.
The largest gang raid in Riverside County history netted over a hundred criminals. Some got deported, others going back to jail. But, overcrowded jails and prisons may mean some criminals will back on the streets. It’s unclear if any of them will return to Desert Hot Springs. But, police are ready if they come back.
A gang home once stood on this empty lot. Authorities demolished it to cap off Operation Falling Sun. Police say they’ll be targeting more home like the ones that stood here to help clean up the city’s crime. The city and police hope to get more officers on the streets. They’re also following-up on on-going cases. They want criminals to know they’re not welcome in Desert Hot Springs.
“If you wanna commit crimes and do harm to others in our community, stand by because the cops are coming. You get your chance to get out of town or get your life right, we welcome you,” says Chief Williams.
That’s a hope Gina Ayala is hanging onto.