Crime statistics reveal mixed trends

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While violent crimes in Riverside County’s unincorporated areas fell 3.9 percent in the first six months of 2016 compared to 2015, homicides doubled from five to 10. Overall, in the first six months of 2016, both violent and property crimes are up in all of the county. (Besides the unincorporated areas, the whole county includes cities such as San Jacinto, where the RC Sheriff’s Department also provides police services).

This is a continuation of a trend from 2014 to 2015.

In the unincorporated areas, the biggest percentage increase was homicides. In all of 2015, 12 homicides occurred in the unincorporated areas.

Robberies increased from 77 to 94 (or 22 percent), which is consistent with the 19-percent growth in robberies during 2015.

While larceny thefts grew nearly 10 percent during this period, vehicle thefts fell 1.5 percent. The largest decrease in reported crimes was a 12.6-percent decline in aggravated assaults in the unincorporated areas. During 2015, these crimes grew 25 percent. Within the whole county, aggravated assaults increased 11.4 percent.

Reported burglaries fell 6.2 percent within the unincorporated areas and 5.4 percent within the whole county.

Vehicle thefts also have fallen in the first half of the year. From January to June, the number of vehicle thefts is 653, 1.5 percent fewer than last year, which grew more than 40 percent during the whole year.

Hemet Station Capt. Joe Borja said the crime pattern on the Hill is consistent with the trends throughout the unincorporated areas.

Patrol staffing in the county’s unincorporated areas is set through discretionary funding established each year by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, while in contrast, the sheriff’s contract city partners (city councils and city managers) each establish their own patrol staffing levels for their respective cities.

The supervisors have set the ratio of sworn staff at 1.04 per 1,000 population, according to the department’s press release.

The Sheriff’s Department serves as the contract policing agency partner for 17 of the county’s 28 cities. Altogether, the sheriff is responsible for policing nearly 1.4 million residents of the county’s population of more than 2.3 million. Annually, Sheriff’s Department dispatchers receive more than 1.6 million phone calls from the public and dispatch nearly 900,000 calls for service, with nearly one-third being in-progress calls for service, the department reported.

The county is the fourth most populous of California’s 58 counties, and the 10th most populous county in the nation.

Post-Prop 47 drug and property crime jail bookings from all agencies within the county made a sharp decline in the first six months of 2015.  Those booking numbers are now increasing in 2016 to pre-Prop 47 levels. Prop 47, passed by voters last November, was the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative.

Also, federal court-ordered early releases from the jail system in the county that decreased in 2015, are now reversing course and increasing in numbers during 2016, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

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