Parents Arrested in California After Children Found Locked In Cages

April 24, 2019 Updated: April 24, 2019

Two California parents have been arrested for child endangerment after authorities allegedly found their two toddler sons locked inside cages.

Deputies executing an illegal firearms warrant at a Tulelake property in northern California on Friday, April 19, found a cage-like installation consisting of two cribs stacked on top of each other, used to confine children.

children in cages
Deputies in California found two young children inside two cribs that were stacked on top of each other and attached to the wall. (Modoc County Sheriff’s Office)

Two boys—both less than 2 years old—were locked inside the modified cribs, The Associated Press reported. The cages were bolted to the wall and had latches to keep the door from being easily opened.

lock on cage
A locking system used to secure children in cages in a Tulelake, Calif. home on April 19, 2019. (Modoc County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Modoc County Sheriff Tex Dowdy said Tuesday that deputies arrested 25-year-old Ramon Zendejas and his girlfriend, 25-year-old Mercadies Williams on charges of illegal firearms possession and child endangerment.

The couple also face drug charges after deputies found what they suspect may have been meth amphetamine, Action News Now reported.

Zendejas and Williams are now in the Modoc County Jail held on $10,000 bail, according to the report.

The sheriff said a search of the property uncovered three guns, ammunition, and evidence of a butane honey oil lab.

The boys were turned over to social services.

Facts About Crime in the United States

Violent crime in the United States has fallen sharply over the past 25 years, according to both the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).

The rate of violent crimes fell by 49 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI’s UCR, which only reflects crimes reported to the police.

The violent crime rate dropped by 74 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the BJS’s NCVS, which takes into account both crimes that have been reported to the police and those that have not.

“From 1993 to 2017, the rate of violent victimization declined 74 percent, from 79.8 to 20.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older,” the U.S. Department of Justice stated.

Both studies are based on data up to and including 2017, the most recent year for which complete figures are available.

The FBI recently released preliminary data for 2018. According to the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January to June 2018, violent crime rates in the United States dropped by 4.3 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2017.

crime rates
Rates of violent crime in the United States in 1993 compared with 2017, according to data from the FBI (L) and BJS (R). (The Epoch Times)

While the overall rate of violent crime has seen a steady downward drop since its peak in the 1990s, there have been several upticks that bucked the trend.

Between 2014 and 2016, the murder rate increased by more than 20 percent, to 5.4 per 100,000 residents, from 4.4, according to an Epoch Times analysis of FBI data. The last two-year period that the rate soared so quickly was between 1966 and 1968.

Property Crime

The property crime rate fell by 50 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI, and by 69 percent according to BJS.

According to the FBI’s preliminary figures for the first half of 2018, property crime rates in the United States dropped by 7.2 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2017.

As with violent crime, the FBI survey only takes into account crime reported to the police, while the BJS figures include reported and nonreported crime.

Public Perception About Crime

Despite falling long-term trends in both violent crime and property crime, opinion surveys repeatedly show Americans believe that crime is up.

The vast majority of Gallup polls taken since 1993 show that over 60 percent of Americans believe there is more crime in the United States on a national scale compared to the previous year.

Pew Research Surveys show similar findings. A survey in late 2016 revealed that 57 percent of registered voters said crime in the nation as a whole increased since 2008, despite both FBI and BJS data showing double-digit drops in violent and property crimes.

Perceptions differed on a national versus local level.

Surveys of perceptions of crime levels on a local scale showed that fewer than 50 percent of respondents in every single Gallup survey done since 1996 believed that crime in their area had risen compared to the previous year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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