Tuolumne County Profile - Community Indicators Project 2008
Tuolumne County Profile Introduction Health and Safety Education and the Arts Natural Resources and Recreation Economy and Infrastructure Appendices Conclusion Acknowledgements

HEALTH & SAFETY INTRODUCTION

Why is this important?

To achieve prosperity, communities must first achieve and maintain good health and security. We value high quality, available health care, efficient emergency services, low rates of crime and abuse, and safety in our homes.

What did we measure?

Because the subject of community health and safety covers many features of our daily lives, the standards by which a community measures its quality of health and safety are diverse. To establish an acceptable measure of community health and safety, one must first define a target standard of health, health care and emergency services delivery. Many such standards have been identified by research and are monitored by local and state agencies. Other standards are recognized, as specific challenges to Tuolumne County citizens by the nature of our demographics, history and geography. Examples of these latter measures include motor vehicle accident rates, access to hospital or clinic services, suicide rates and health conditions resulting from proximity to wildlife and open forestland.

We report safety statistics, including crime rates, motor vehicle safety, juvenile crime, and response times for fire and emergency services.

How are we doing?

The need for health care reform is widely recognized as a vital issue facing this nation. Tuolumne County is a classic example of the shortcomings and strengths of our current system. Our 150-year-old county hospital, Tuolumne General Hospital, closed its doors to acute care services in 2007. In the past five years, seven primary care physicians left local practice and most have been replaced. Access to health care services continues to be largely controlled by managed care and public safety net programs. Our communities are of such a size that gaps in services are often managed by individual solutions that are facilitated by communications between health care providers, nonprofit organizations and program administrators.

The most telling violent crime stat is assault, and we are significantly above the state average in assaults. Methamphetamine use continues to be an issue, and negatively affects almost all aspects of our health and safety.

Our criminal justice system is strapped by lack of funding, decaying buildings, and an inability to attract and retain quality staff. Law enforcement officers are using grant dollars to augment their operations and/or procedures and increase staffing to further reduce crime in our locale. As an example, the Office of Traffic Safety granted the Tuolumne County California Highway Patrol (CHP) 2,000 hours for additional staffing and enforcement along the State Route 120/49/108 east/west corridor. This will assist our local CHP in saving lives, reducing injury and fatal accidents, and reducing criminal activity in the areas surrounding the main artery through Tuolumne County. However, because of State budget constraints we are losing other grant moneys. As a further indicator of the state of law enforcement, our jail is letting people out early because of overcrowding.

BOB Truck

Since education is the best crime prevention tool, local law enforcement officers continue to be involved in programs like Friday Night Live, Youth Leadership Tuolumne County, and local High Schools to educate our local youth. Finally, Tuolumne County law enforcement agencies are actively involved in the early stages of developing a Police Activity League (PAL) program in our county and continue to work with the YES Partnership, a community-based coalition focusing its work on local youth and families to prevent substance abuse, suicide and child abuse.

Community Indicators Project
Tuolumne County - Central Sierra Mountains