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Major crime drops, assaults increase

Tough economy might be causing increase in thefts

Posted: January 28, 2009 9:50 p.m.
Updated: January 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 

Major crimes dropped more than 13-percent locally in 2008, while there was an increase in aggravated assault, according to a report released Wednesday by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

The report shows a 13.8 percent decrease in Part I crimes over the same period in 2007.

The list includes homicides, forcible rapes, robberies, felonious assaults, burglaries, larceny, grand theft auto and arson.

Major crimes in the valley have been decreasing since 2004, the report stated.

In 2008 there were 167 reported robberies between the city and unincorporated county areas, up from 155 in 207.

There were 368 reported cases of aggravated assault in the valley in 2008, up from 302 in 2007.

Station officials are crediting the decrease in Part I crimes to aggressive gang enforcement operations, intervention programs, community relations and neighborhood watch programs.

Both the city and county areas saw a drop in forcible rapes. There were 19 rapes reported in the city in 2008, down from 22 in 2007. In the county areas there were nine reports in 2008, down from 12 the year prior.

The city contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to provide law enforcement for the city and unincorporated areas.

Deputies made 7,998 arrests in 2008, an increase of 20.5 percent from 2007 and a two-year increase of 34 percent, according to the report.

Within city limits, sheriff's deputies responded to 1,944 traffic collisions in 2008, down from 2,200 in 2007, the report stated. Some 15,755 traffic citations were issued, the majority of them for excessive speed.

The report also credited community involvement.

"In these tough economic times we must get and stay involved," Capt. Anthony La Berge said in a statement.

"A troubled housing and job market, in concert with other economic challenges, can heighten domestic and business tensions and increase incidents of theft, robbery and assault," La Berge said, "Now, more than ever, it is time to keep an eye out for your neighbor (and) be aware of your surroundings."

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