May 2012 set a record of 15 felony property crimes in Idyllwild and Pine Cove neighborhoods. Both the May crimes (15) and April crimes (13) more than doubled the next highest number in any previous single month, six both in October 2011 and January 2012.
The breakdown for May was five residential burglaries, one commercial burglary, one burglary of an outbuilding, one theft of a vehicle, one burglary of a vehicle, two felony metal thefts and one grand theft in Idyllwild. In Pine Cove, there were two residential and one commercial burglaries.
The local crime spree has not abated since summer arrived. Reported crimes have continued at rates higher than last fall or winter. In June there were nine property crimes (three each in Idyllwild and Pine Cove) and three assaults in Idyllwild; in July there were eight property crimes, seven in Idyllwild and one in Pine Cove.
Crimes were spread throughout the two communities, with more than a few located on Pine Crest Avenue in Idyllwild, the one area that showed a disproportionate number of hits.
By comparison, the 65 reported incidents in 2012 through last week were nearly six times the 2009 incidents and three times a year ago. However, 11 of those occurred in the 12 weeks from October through Dec. 31.
Year Property Crimes
|2012 to date||65|
(Monthly totals can vary based on when reported. Yearly trends and totals are accurate.)
The growth in area crime continues at a time when Hemet Station is operating at reduced staffing. Where four years ago, there were 1.2 deputies per 1,000 residents in our staffing area, there are now .9 to .75. Even though additional money has been approved to return staffing to 1 per 1,000, county Sheriff Stan Sniff said it would take 12 to 18 months or longer to have those new deputies on the street.
In the interim, Hemet Station’s Special Investigations Supervisor Sgt. Wallace Clear urged residents to become the eyes and ears of the community, form Neighborhood Watch groups and install security systems and monitoring equipment.
Idyllwild resident and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy Barney Brause is the certified Neighborhood Watch trainer for Idyllwild and Pine Cove. To date, lower Fern Valley has had a successful meeting of over 20 residents and plans another meeting on Aug. 1; upper Fern Valley is recruiting households for a virtual Neighborhood Watch site, www.nextdoor.com, endorsed by the sheriff’s department, and is planning a meeting with Brause once the virtual watch is set (it takes 10 households to make any local neighborhood site go live for password protected postings). As part of website protocol, neighborhoods establish and self-manage their own Nextdoor site information. Posted information is only visible to members in a specific neighborhood and is password-accessible only for registered neighbors; and Pine Cove is planning its first organizational Watch meeting with Brause in September.
Sheriff’s Department packets are available at the Town Crier offices and through the Sheriff’s Department. Contact Brause for information or to set up a community meeting at (951) 791-3406.