DAILY PRESS EDITORIAL BOARD: Making progress in the crime fight

By The Daily Press Editorial Board

Posted Sep 6, 2017 at 3:00 PM Updated at 9:38 AM

Just when you think the battle to stop criminals can’t be won, a story emerges that provides hope.

Such was the case Wednesday at the Victor Valley Chamber of Commerce’s State of the County event at the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos revealed to the several hundred in attendance that his office has orchestrated the arrest of nearly 100 welfare fraud criminals since First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood provided the DA’s office with some funding to attack the problem head-on.

Ramos said some of those arrested even were seen going into casinos with their welfare cards! No doubt they were spending hard-earned taxpayer dollars trying to make an even bigger score than they already had made by virtue of cheating the system.

Talk about the good news story of the day. We hope Ramos’ prosecutors seek the harshest possible sentences for these criminals.

He also noted that the DA’s office will be seeking restitution that could approach $100 million!

Ramos wasn’t the only law enforcement official who announced some good news at the Chamber meeting. San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said deputies have been working on a Desert Guardian sweep for the past eight weeks and in just the last 16 days have made nearly 500 arrests.

That should make our High Desert communities and streets much safer in the coming weeks and months. And McMahon pledged to keep the pressure on criminals throughout our region.

He said thanks to $1 million from the Board of Supervisors, he is putting together a team of deputies that will spend the next nine months targeting the “worst of the worst” criminals in our desert.

McMahon’s aim is to get them off the streets and welcome them to a new home — bars included at no extra charge.

It’s been a tough year for violent crime in our region, but neither McMahon nor Ramos — or Lovingood, for that matter — plans to throw in the towel and give up. No, our county leaders have pledged to stay on the offensive and go after gang members and other thugs walking our streets.

They also want to reach out to youngsters in school and provide programs that will help them steer clear of the gangs and bad crowds that would be so happy to pull them into a life of crime.

With the help of our educators — and wouldn’t more like Teacher of the Year Melissa Edwards of the Victor Elementary district be wonderful? — we can provide youngsters with hope and a vision for a better life than they may know now.

If we all work together, we can change our world. We will change our world.