Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 7
Sheriff's Office reports increase in violent, property crimes
By BRENNA SWANSTON
Santa Barbara County saw an uptick in both violent and property crimes last year, according to numbers released on April 12 by the Sheriff's Office covering the county's unincorporated areas as well as Buellton, Carpinteria, Goleta, and Solvang.
In 2016, violent crimes—those involving force or threat of force—increased by 2 percent over 2015. It wasn't a "profound" spike, according to Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, but a concerning one nonetheless.
Hoover told the Sun the greatest contributing factor to the increase was that homicide numbers doubled from 2015 to 2016. There were four in 2016, but none of the murders were gang-related. Forcible rape reports and robberies also rose, she said.
Aggravated assaults decreased by 4 percent, Hoover said, but increases in other violent crimes still pushed the overall rates up. She added that because the increase in violent crimes was relatively marginal, the Sheriff's Office wouldn't make any major operations adjustments for 2017.
"I wouldn't say there's any huge change of plans in how we operate," Hoover said. "It's more of an awareness that we all need to work together to help combat the crimes that we're seeing occurring."
Theft-related property crimes also increased, largely due to a 7 percent spike in property theft, Hoover said, especially from vehicles and residences, many of which were unlocked.
"We could really impact the number of property crimes that occur just by citizens being more aware of locking their doors and windows on their vehicles, at their homes, at their businesses," she said. "There are individuals out there that are really looking for crimes of opportunity and are stealing from cars and homes, and mainly cars."
Hoover added that vehicle theft apparently decreased between 2015 and 2016, but said those numbers may be skewed because California Highway Patrol takes many stolen vehicle reports.
"Even though Santa Barbara [County] has a fairly low crime rate, we don't want to see crime increase, and it's just a reminder that we all need to be a part of helping reduce crime in Santa Barbara County through community policing, working together with the community, looking out for one another," she said.
Snubbing Uncle Sam: Local resident touts tax resistance as protest The funding game: After decades of work, the Bob Jones Trail needs a little more money to get it ready for construction Offshore energy: A state task force is in the preliminary stages of creating a wind farm off the Central Coast Trump directives target the Carrizo Plain, offshore drilling Solar farm at Paso Robles airport gets approval Anti-rental inspection petitioners seek compromise with SLO city Clarifications