The Desert IndependentTM
Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001
Violent Crime in Riverside County Sheriff’s Areas Up 12.1%
March 11, 2017
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif –The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has released preliminary crime statistics for calendar year 2016, indicating an overall increase of 1.1% in all reported FBI Part I crimes. In contrast to the overall FBI Part I crime increase, violent crime increased by 12.1% in the Sheriff’s areas of Riverside County (both unincorporated areas and cities), while there was only a 0.2% increase in overall property crime in those same areas. The FBI will typically publish final crime data, for 2016, later this year.
2016 homicides increased sharply by more than 71% over 2015, there was also an 18% increase in the number of rapes, a more than 12% increase in robberies and an almost 11% increase in aggravated assaults reported to the Sheriff. The violent crime numbers were the highest reported since 2009.
Property crimes (burglaries, auto thefts & felony thefts) in all of the Sheriff’s areas of responsibility (county and cities) within Riverside County increased by 0.2%. Reported burglaries dropped more than 3% from the previous year.
Auto thefts increased by more than 4% in 2016, continuing the trend from the previous year and are the highest number reported since 2007.
Within only the unincorporated areas of Riverside County, violent and property crimes decreased overall by almost 1% in 2016. However, decreases in aggravated assault, burglary, and automobile theft were offset by homicides more than doubling, reported rapes increasing by almost half, an increase in robberies, and a rise in reported larceny/thefts not seen since 2011.
Larceny/theft account for more than 60% of all property crimes. The larceny/theft activity throughout the unincorporated area is mainly comprised of “Grab & Runs” from both commercial and residential locations, to include vehicles parked at residences. Items most often taken were tools, electronics, personal items (wallets, purses, money) and guns.
Almost 69% of unincorporated violent crime is aggravated assault. Further analysis shows most reported aggravated assaults are related to domestic violence, and a clear majority of those are spousal beatings. Domestic violence was also a factor in almost 17% of the reported unincorporated area homicides where a primary motive has been established.
It is important to note that the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has a long history of collaboration with all responsive agencies when it comes to the application of domestic violence resources. Our investigative bureaus across the county have designated Domestic Violence Threat Management (DVTM) trained investigators focusing on reviewing domestic violence reports to identify training or follow-up needs, identifying subjects likely to commit repeated acts of domestic violence, participating in multi-agency collaborative countywide threat management teams, handling high-profile or threat management domestic violence incidents, and mentoring deputies to improve initial and follow-up domestic violence investigations. All of this is focused on supporting the victim, stopping the behavior, and breaking the cycle of violence.
The Department continues to seek grant funding to support this emphasis and works closely with the Family Justice Courts, the District Attorney and their Victim Witness advocates, the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement team (SAFE), and support organizations such as ‘Shelter from the Storm’ and the ‘Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center’ to assist with restraining orders, group sessions, safety plans, and individual victim needs such as food and gas vouchers, along with several other Crime Victim Assistance programs.
Contract City Impact
Looking at only the Sheriff’s contract law enforcement city partners all combined, violent crime increased more than 19%, property crimes increased 0.3%, with overall FBI Part I Crimes increasing almost 1.7%.
The Sheriff’s contract policing services provides each of our 17 community partners with a flexible menu of services and each city is able to control its police staffing levels along with their focus to suit their respective community. The Sheriff’s local commanders serve as city police chiefs for each city manager and are just as responsive as any other city department head. This responsiveness encourages considerable initiative and creativity in dealing with local crime challenges in each of those partner cities.
The Sheriff serves nearly 1 million in population within the 17 cities that contract for police services, and another 400,000 in the unincorporated area of the county outside of those cities.
Table 1: Preliminary 2016 Overall Crime Data in all of the Sheriff's Areas
Table 2: Preliminary 2016 Overall Crime Data in Unincorporated Areas Only
** Includes arson
*** Includes Mt. San Jac. C.C. as of: 3-9-2017
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