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Crime down from 2009

Crime: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department releases data for 2010

Posted: December 28, 2010 10:36 p.m.
Updated: December 29, 2010 4:55 a.m.

The numbers for each year are for reported incidents as of Nov. 30. Homicides, rape and aggravated assaults are counted by the number of victims. All others are counted by the number of incidents. The 5-year change is from 2005 to 2010 in crime rates per 10,000 population.

The number of robberies, assaults, burglaries and other crimes committed in the Santa Clarita Valley decreased in 2010 compared to last year, according to crime data released Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities said the drop in crime is unusual since the economy has been performing poorly and the unemployment rate in California is high — about 12 percent.

The drop in violent crimes reported in the SCV mirrors similar drops throughout Los Angeles County and comes as officials continue to cut about $128 million from the Sheriff’s Department’s budget.

“You would think robberies, vehicle thefts and property crimes would have gone up, but that’s not the case,” said Nicole Nishida, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman. “It’s a surprising fact that can be credited to the hard work deputies are doing out on the street.”

One possible explanation for the overall decrease in crime was the start of programs such as Crime Stoppers, she said.

Crime Stoppers allows residents with information about a crime to now call, e-mail or text authorities anonymously.

“Before, people would call their local sheriff’s station, but a lot of people weren’t comfortable with it for fear of retaliation,” Nishida said.

“That can hamper a lot of investigations. The tips are completely anonymous. There’s no way to trace the information.”

Since the program started, 272 crimes have been solved based solely on information gathered through Crime Stoppers, she said.

Programs like these might deter criminals, Nishida said.

The crime data for 2010 is broken down into two types: violent crime and property crime. Violent crimes include murder, forcible rape, assault and robbery. Property crimes include car theft, burglary, larceny and arson.

So far this year, a total of 522 violent crimes have been reported in the Santa Clarita Valley through Nov. 30 compared to 542 violent crimes reported through the same time in 2009.

Meanwhile, 3,576 property crimes have been reported in the Santa Clarita Valley through Nov. 30 of this year compared to 4,092 property crimes reported through the same time in 2009.

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officials could either not be reached Tuesday or would not immediately comment on the report until after reviewing the data.

In an interview before the crime data was released, Capt. Paul Becker said he expected overall crime in the Santa Clarita Valley to decrease compared to 2009.

While reported crime in the valley dropped almost 11 percent since 2005, the overall number of violent crimes increased.

In 2005, 436 violent crimes were reported in the SCV through Nov. 30. So far this year, 522 crimes have been reported.

Almost half of the violent crimes reported in the SCV so far this year have been either assaults or robberies.

In that same time, the population in the Santa Clarita increased by more than 11,000 residents, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation population data.


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