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Crime declines in SCV

Violent incidents drop 5% in city in first half of year

Posted: August 6, 2008 9:02 p.m.
Updated: October 8, 2008 5:04 a.m.

Statistics released Wednesday by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station show an overall drop in almost all crimes locally during the first half of 2008.

Only aggravated assaults were reported to have increased by one reported crime over the number of aggravated assaults reported during the same period last year. That increase was reported to be up by less than 1 percent - up to 137 reported cases from 136 in 2007.

The statistics show a "significant overall reduction" for all major crimes compared with the same six-month period last year.

Among those crimes deemed major by the Sheriff's Station are forcible rapes, robberies, and felony assaults, which statistics show as being down by almost 6 percent overall.

Forcible rapes - differentiated from statutory rape - were down 39 percent, according to the report, from 23 to 14 reported cases.

Business and residential burglaries, according to the report, declined by 13 percent, while larceny theft, which includes car burglaries decreased by 20 percent.

Broken down, the figures show that violent crimes dropped by almost 5 percent in the city of Santa Clarita and decreased by nearly 8 percent in the unincorporated parts of Santa Clarita Valley. In the city there were 174 reported cases down from 183, with 58 cases down from 63 in unincorporated areas.

The largest percentage drop in crime statistics was reflected in the categories of homicides and arson - five reported homicides to one, and down to 14 reported arsons from 33.

Another drop was in larceny, down from 1,693 reported cases in 2007 to 1,353.

"I am very pleased with the reduction in crimes," Station Capt. Anthony La Berge said in a statement. "This reflects that deputies are working hard, the citizens have heard our public safety campaigns and are motivated to assist in the safety and security of their neighborhoods, and the teamwork between city and county officials and the Sheriff's Department has never been better.

While larceny - which includes vehicle burglary and theft from unlocked vehicles - has risen over the last several years, La Berge said it is "fantastic to finally see a reduction in the number of reported crimes. This is a crime of opportunity which we have really targeted with our messages to the public."

When it came to monitoring the rise or fall in the number of crimes reported in unincorporated county areas and those reported in city areas, sheriff's deputies noted some differences. When it came to robberies, there were five more robberies reported to have occurred in the city over the same time last year - an increase of 8 percent.

Comparatively, deputies observed a 33 percent drop in the number of robberies in the unincorporated areas - specifically, seven fewer robberies reported in those areas, down to 14 from 21.

When it came to aggravated assaults, however, the regional split was the other way around.

There were seven more assaults reported this year over last year in the unincorporated areas, accounting for a 22 percent increase, up to 38 from 31.

The city, by comparison, logged six fewer assaults in the same time period for a 5 percent drop in that category - down to 99 from 105.

The report cited "several significant additions" made by the department in the past year including the launch of its city-funded, interactive Web site with which, according to the report, sheriff's deputies were able to provide information on crimes in the area and what the public can do to protect themselves, their financial identity and their property.

The Sheriff's Station saw one more patrol deputy join the ranks, as well as one Business Alliance sergeant who helped create a business program to expand outreach to the business community.


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