To: Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and the Santa Cruz City Council
Please find the Take Back Santa Cruz Needles Solutions Team Needles in Public Spaces (NIPS) report attached. This is a log of citizen reports of needles found in public spaces for the last 55 months. The log was created as a reference so that someone can use the data to:
- Keep the County and City aware that there is an ongoing problem;
- Determine if the needles found in public spaces are increasing or decreasing;
- Provide data to the City and County so that “hot spot” patterns can be identified for City/County cleanup; and to
- Give the community a place to log their finds.
Total NIPS Finds for Reporting Period 53
For reporting period 53 (4/9/2017-5/8/17), 307 needles found in public spaces were logged. This count includes citizen reports, community group reports and reports by City workers. 79 needles were found by citizens and community groups; the other 228 needles were found by City workers.
Total NIPS Finds for Reporting Period 54
For reporting period 54 (5/9/2017-6/8/17), 208 needles found in public spaces were logged. This count includes citizen reports, community group reports and reports by City workers. 113 needles were found by citizens and community groups; the other 95 needles were found by City workers.
Total NIPS Finds for Reporting Period 55
For reporting period 55 (6/9/2017-7/8/17), 562 needles found in public spaces were logged. This count includes citizen reports, community group reports and reports by City workers. 93 needles were found by citizens and community groups; the other 469 needles were found by City workers.
Significant Finds For Reporting Periods 53, 54 &55
- An Emeline neighbor found a needle (which looked to be full of either drugs or blood) approximately 100 yards from the red kiosk outside of the SSP (1528N);
- A volunteer who maintains the landscaping at the lawn bowling greens at San Lorenzo Park continues to find needles several times a week;
- A citizen found a needle in the tree by the concrete whale that children play o outside of the Museum of Natural History (1549N);
- Needles were found at the following beaches: Castle Beach, Seabright Beach, Twin Lakes Beach, Cowell Beach, Capitola Beach;
- A citizen making a delivery found a needle outside the Sheriff Administration Complex (1618N);
- One needle was found at Harbor High (1582N) and two needles were found at Westlake Elementary (1552N);
Hot Spot NIPS Locations for Reporting Periods 53, 54 & 55:
- San Lorenzo Park;
- Levee & RiverWalk
- Depot Park;
- School Street Walkway
- Neary Lagoon
- Downtown Santa Cruz
12th Needle Stick Injury (6th Child)
We are sad to report that we have confirmed another needle stick injury. On Memorial Day, several children were swimming at the pond/spring on Spring Street. One of those children, an 11-year-old girl, stepped on a dirty needle and punctured her foot.
SSP 2017 Biennial Report:
Thank you to the County for giving notice and opportunity for the public to review the biennial report on the SSP and participate in the open Board meeting. We applaud County Health for endeavoring to make its syringe program part of a greater effort to get more addicts into recovery. We agree that more addicts in recovery will mean less discarded needles (among other benefits to the community).
Grand Jury Report:
For years, TBSC and its Needles Solutions Team have asked the County for greater transparency with regard to its Syringe Services Program. The Santa Cruz Ground Jury investigated and recently issued its report. In summary: “A lack of transparency between the SSP and the public has created an atmosphere of distrust.”
We hope that the County will follow the Grand Jury’s recommendations, including the appointment of community representatives on the SSP’s Advisory Committee.
The full text of the Grand Jury report can be found here: http://www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/Portals/0/County/GrandJury/GJ2017_final/SharperSolutions.pdf
NIPS Finds In The Past Year:
Overview of Last 55 months
Total Number of Needles Reported Found: 14,620
- Average Number of Needles Found Per Month: 265
- Needle Sticks: We have confirmed 12 cases of people being stuck by needles (including 6 children) in the last 55 months.
Best regards – Needles Solutions Team
Attachments: NIPS workbook, City Parks & Rec needles logs for April/May/June 2017, Photos