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Crime Decreases In Santa Clarita Valley Area

Crime stats show deputies, citizens working together can bring down illegal activities.

Sponsored By:

Baskin Robbins

Major crimes, including homicides, forcible rapes,
robberies, felonious assaults, burglaries, larceny, grand theft auto and arson
are down in Santa Clarita, according to the 2008 Part I crime statistics,
released Wednesday by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

 

The report indicates a 13.8% overall decrease in comparison
to the same time period in 2007. In fact, overall Part I crimes have been
decreasing in the Santa Clarita Valley for the past four years, dating back to
2004.

Although the majority of the Part I crimes were down, causing the overall
decrease, increases were seen in aggravated assaults and robberies in some
areas patrolled by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. Reported
incidents of burglary declined overall, but increased in some station areas.

In the entire Santa Clarita Valley, forcible rapes were down 17.6%; business
and residential burglaries declined by 5.8%, and larceny theft, which includes
car burglaries, decreased by 21.5%. The largest percentage decreases were
reflected in the categories of homicides and arson.
 
In the City of Santa Clarita,
burglaries were down more than 16% and thefts were down nearly 22%. The
unincorporated areas of the Santa Clarita Valley saw the most notable
reductions in homicides, 87.5%, as well as declines in robbery and theft. 

 

Station officials are crediting the continued decrease to
aggressive gang enforcement operations, innovative intervention programs,
community relations and neighborhood watch programs, and the hard-working
efforts of involved residents, patrol deputies, city and county officials, and
station support staff. 

 

Deputies have been hard at work during 2008. They have been
proactive and productive in sending a “Not in Santa Clarita” message to
individuals who attempted to commit crimes in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Although Part I crime was down in 2008, deputies made a record amount of
arrests, indicating that less crime is occurring as well as deputies being more
innovative and productive in catching those who do commit crimes.

In 2008, the County of Los
Angeles added nine (9) patrol items to help
enhance enforcement efforts and reduce response times in the unincorporated
areas, while creating a very visible Deputy Sheriff presence to those who come
into the Santa Clarita Valley considering committing crime.

 

Although Sheriff's officials are excited about the
year-over-year decrease in overall totals, they caution that we cannot get
complacent or cease our vigilance that has been so helpful in reporting crimes
in progress throughout the year.

 

SCV Station Captain Anthony La Berge, members of the SCV
Sheriff Station's Detective Bureau, COBRA and CIT teams, along with resources
from the County of Los Angeles, including deputies from the Department’s COPS
and North County Crime Impact Teams, the City’s dedicated full-time Probation
Officer, and the station's crime analyst are analyzing the recent statistics to
develop strategies to best address future areas of increased enforcement.

 

During 2008, the Sheriff's Station continued to conduct a
significant number of gang enforcement operations. Sheriff's officials intend
to continue that trend into 2009 with more zero tolerance gang enforcement and
prevention efforts. Further efforts to reduce incidents of graffiti and gang
related crime has been bolstered by the partnership between the City of Santa
Clarita and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's
Station.

 

The city's funding of the Sheriff's COBRA team, coupled with
the forming of the Anti-Gang
Task force
, which involves multiple city and sheriff disciplines working
together to reduce gang violence, has been very effective and productive in
2008. A 2008 yearly report completely outlining the task force efforts and
success stories can be found in the Graffiti Task Force 2008 Yearly Report
found at the following link: 2008 Yearly
Report
.

 

"In these tough economic times we must get and stay
involved now more than ever," said La Berge. "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.
Now more than ever it is time to keep an eye out for your neighbor, be aware of
your surroundings, protect your valuables, report vacant houses through our new
"Vacant House Check" feature on our SCV Sheriff Web site at www.SCVSheriff.com, and try to remain
patient and understanding while facing tough family decisions and financial
challenges," he added.

 

In 2008, deputies made 7,998 arrests, a 20.5% increase over
2007, and a 2-year increase of more than 34%, a number not seen in
the station's history. In addition, your deputies responded to 54,886 calls for
service, including 3,683 emergency (9-1-1)
calls, and generated more than 80,000 self-initiated observation incidents and
contacts, and documented more than 21,500 incident reports throughout the
year.

 

The station’s Traffic Safety Office is responsible for all
traffic enforcement and traffic accident investigations in the City of Santa
Clarita. In 2008, deputies assigned to the Traffic
Department responded to more than 1,944 traffic collisions within the city
limits, down from 2,200 collisions in 2007 or more than 13%. Of these
collisions, eight involved fatalities and 110 involved suspected drunk or
impaired drivers, including two fatalities.

 

Deputies also made 363 driving under the influence arrests
and issued 15,755 traffic citations for moving violations, seat-belt, and
equipment related offenses.  Of these citations, a majority were issued
in relation to excessive speed. Excessive speed was also a primary causal
factor in many of the traffic collisions. Traffic investigators presented more
than 1,200 cases to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office for filing
consideration.

    

In 2008, the City of Santa Clarita
began a comprehensive commercial vehicle enforcement program with the addition
of one specially trained deputy to focus enforcement on “big rigs” and
commercial vehicles. The program's primary function is to protect our community
from dangerous and overweight trucks, whose drivers are unlawfully traversing
our local roadways, putting themselves and other motorists at risk, and
damaging our roads. The deputy has already joined in collaborative efforts
and force multiplier operations with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and
other agencies.  The deputy issued nearly 500 citations since the launch
of the program in July 2008. Other efforts, such as the City's red light cameras
are also aiding in safer roadways for all our motorists.  

 

Deputies, Community Services Assistance, Parking Control
Officers, and Volunteers on Patrol also issued nearly 3,500 abandoned or
illegally parked vehicle warnings, tows, and citations, and 451 warnings
pertaining to the parking of over-sized vehicles. These efforts were primarily
in response to community members who are concerned about illegal parking of
cars and over-sized vehicles.

 

The City of Santa Clarita's Sheriff's Business Alliance (SBA)
launched in July 2007, has helped businesses in the City of Santa
Clarita protect themselves from crime and unnecessary losses during these
challenging economic times at no cost to the business
owners.  The Sheriff's Business Alliance has been working throughout
2008 with local business owners, managers and their employees on crime
prevention techniques and preventing crime through awareness and
education. 

 

Producing a monthly "Lunch & Learn" program,
the City and Sheriff's Station have coordinated classes on Fraud/Identity theft
in the Auto Sales Industry, Retail Fraud and Loss Prevention, Bank Robbery
Prevention, Workplace Violence and Drug Free Work Environment programs, Hotel
Safety and Security program, Real Estate Fraud Prevention, Licensed Alcohol Sales
Education, Commercial Identity Theft Prevention, and Crime Prevention through
Environmental Design. In its short existence, over 400 participants and their
businesses have worked together to prevent crimes in our local community
through education and targeted prevention programs.

 

The station's Community Relations and Crime Prevention staff
was also heavily involved with public safety efforts in 2008. Youth
intervention programs in the city, such as Vital Intervention and Directional
Alternatives (VIDA) were directly involved with assisting at-risk youth in
Santa Clarita. The program provides positive alternatives, counseling, family
action, community service, physical training, team building, and career
guidance to youth in our community. VIDA helps redirect negative behavior
of our youth, who may be tempted to explore gang affiliation, drug use, or
crime.

 

In the Val Verde area of unincorporated Los
Angeles County, a
deputy from the Sheriff's Youth Activities League mentors young people in
sports and other community activities.  The goal of the program is
to help our Santa Clarita Valley youth reach their full potential and
lead responsible and productive lives.

 

The Crime Prevention staff held more than 70 community
safety talks, meetings, and presentations on such topics as Neighborhood Watch,
identity theft, Internet safety, senior safety, School Watch, kids’ safety,
community safety, and special education. The unit was also involved in several
community events such as the City's first ever E-Waste and Community Shred Day,
Every 15 Minutes at local high schools, Youth in Government Intern Program,
security and traffic control for the Amgen Tour of California Bicycle Race, the
Santa Clarita Marathon, and the AT&T Senior Golf Tournament.  They also
had a presence at the Evening of Remembrance at Central Park Grove, the
Emergency Expo, the Community Health Fair, Extreme Neighborhood Make over, and
Teen Scene Unplugged.

 

Often overlooked are the deputies who patrol Pyramid
Lake and the remote areas of Los
Angeles County in
the Santa Clarita Valley such as Gorman.  These deputies handle
all patrol, rescue, and law enforcement services for Pyramid
Lake, which is located
approximately 30 miles north of the station, and the surrounding areas. 
Theses deputies are also departmentally certified SCUBA rescue and recovery
divers, known and used throughout the County
of Los Angeles and in other parts
of the nation when the need arises.

 

In an effort to keep your recreational activities safe, the
deputies issued 353 citations, were involved in 249 rescues and vessel tows,
made five boating under the influence arrests, responded to two boating
accidents, and had zero fatalities in 2008. 

 

The station also boasts one of the premier off-road
enforcement teams in the nation which is responsible for Hungry Valley Off-road
Recreational Vehicle Park and patrol/enforcement efforts in all rural areas of
the city and county, including areas in the Angeles
National Forest.  Recently the
program has expanded to be used in conducting evacuations in rural areas during
southland wildfires.

 

The station is also home to a dedicated and highly
skilled Search and Rescue Team and other volunteer forces, made up
primarily of Reserve Deputy Sheriffs and civilian volunteers. 
These reserve deputies and civilian volunteers assist in mountain rescues, lost
or stranded hiker operations, vehicles over the side, wildfire efforts and
evacuations, and disaster operations.  The volunteers also help in all
areas of station operations and patrol efforts right here
in Santa Clarita.  These volunteer programs alone save the County
of Los Angeles and City of Santa
Clarita more than $700,000 on average in operating and
personnel expenses annually.

 

Our community continues to be safe because of your
involvement! Several great arrests were made throughout the Santa Clarita
Valley as a direct result of our residents getting involved, noticing something
out of the ordinary, and calling our station. Information provided to our crime
tip hotline and on-line crime tip reporting mechanism was also very beneficial
in helping us identify and track down individuals who chose to commit crimes in
the Santa Clarita Valley.

 

Keep up the great work!  We need your eyes, ears, and
involvement.  This community is living proof that the police/community
formula for safety works.

 

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