An apparent surge in burglaries is occurring throughout the Idyllwild area. A review of incident reports received from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Hemet Station, shows that crimes to property (burglary, attempted burglary, vehicle theft, grand theft and felony vandalism) increased substantially in recent weeks compared to 2010 and 2011.

Property crimes grew marginally in 2011 over 2010 (23 and 20 respective reported incidents) and markedly (about 40 percent increase) over 2009 levels (13 incidents). These preliminary tallies may not represent all incidents.

However, eight incidents have already been reported since January 2012. Another two occurred in the last two weeks of 2011.

Sheriff’s deputy responses are categorized, with Priority One (in-progress) criminal incidents receiving highest priority because the imminence of danger requires an immediate response.

A crime victim can specifically request a deputy take an in-person report, even if the crime is not then in-progress. Some crime reports are taken by telephone, without a deputy present at the crime scene.

What was not noted in previous Town Crier reports of recent burglaries was the Sheriff’s Department’s stated policy of responding to all calls, regardless of priority classification.

Hemet Station Captain Scot Collins provided the following clarification about deputy response, “The Hemet Station does not have any policy on responding to calls that is independent of the department’s policy. As an agency, we essentially respond to all calls for service. Each call is given a priority ranking of 1 through 4, based on the urgency of the incident, the immediate threat to public safety, and whether the incident is in-progress, just occurred, or in the past.

“To be clear, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department responds with a department member personally to all calls, regardless of priority. The department also has a Telephone Report Unit, which takes reports for citizens who live in our unincorporated areas, if it is the desire of the citizen caller to make the report by phone. Only a small amount of calls meet our criteria to be handled by telephone; about 4 percent of Hemet Station’s calls were handled by the Telephone Report Unit over the past two months.”

Request for reports of break-ins

The Sheriff’s Department routinely requests that all crime incidents be reported in order to track spikes in criminal activity in particular areas.

Even if you feel the crime may have occurred days before its discovery, the Town Crier would also appreciate hearing about it. We will collect the data, prepare a map and report on the Sheriff’s progress in combatting this local crime spree.

You can either send an email to [email protected] or call (951) 659-2146 and ask for Marshall Smith.