Deputies’ hard work pays off with lowest crime rate

Message from the City Manager Ken Striplin, Police Chief Robert Lewis

“Congratulations,” and “thank you.”

That is what we want to say to the hard working men and women of our Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. Their crime fighting efforts throughout 2018 led to the lowest crime rate on record, surpassing the numbers from 2014 (which were the previous lowest crime stats on record in Santa Clarita).

Preliminary figures show part one crimes are down 20 percent from 2017. Part one crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, burglary and arson. This drop is due to the proactive efforts, crime suppression operations and all-around dedication of our sheriff’s deputies led by Capt. Robert Lewis.

This significant decrease comes amidst changes in state initiatives aimed at decreasing the state prison population — such as Assembly Bill 109 and Propositions 47 and 57. These measures are creating a more difficult and dangerous environment in our state and Santa Clarita has not been immune to the negative impacts.

Apart from a spike in the crime rate in Santa Clarita that ensued after the reforms from 2014 -16, one of our very own sheriff’s deputies was rushed to the hospital after being shot in the neck by a criminal. This convict was a beneficiary of these recent initiatives and a parolee in Santa Clarita after being released early from prison. AB 109 and Propositions 47 and 57, emboldened criminals — because the fear of being arrested and serving full prison sentences has been significantly reduced.

Even with these challenges, the crime stats we have now for 2018 show: Robberies are down 26 percent; burglaries are down more than 16 percent; grand theft autos are down 30 percent; and assaults are down nearly 25 percent! These are impressive numbers that add up to a safe and thriving community.

Our deputies are impacting crime through special operations, directed patrol tactics, targeted traffic enforcement, specialized deployments, the apprehension of suspects and public education and awareness efforts. Our local sheriff’s deputies also focus on being nimble and constantly reassessing the approach to crime prevention to best meet the public’s needs.  

A recent example of such success is the quick arrest of a bank robbery suspect who was nabbed in less than eight hours. The robbery occurred on Dec. 28, at approximately 2:55 p.m. at a Saugus bank; the suspect was arrested in Acton that night at 10:35 p.m. The speedy apprehension of this suspect was made possible through assistance received from neighboring patrol stations, specialized department resources and the great partnership with the community. This kind of quick work sends a message to criminals who will think twice before committing crimes in our city.

Mayor Marsha McLean and the City Council are committed to maintaining this downward trend in crimes. Their continued investment and support for public safety is evident in their backing and funding of the new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. This state-of-the-art facility will be the first station built in the valley since the original station opened its doors nearly half a century ago. We broke ground last summer and work is underway at the site on Golden Valley Road. A joint effort with Los Angeles County, this new 46,000-square-foot, Sheriff’s Station will feature a detached 4,000-square-foot vehicle maintenance facility, a heliport, 9-1-1 dispatch center, a jail and enough space to house the entire sheriff’s team. The new Sheriff’s Station is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.

As we move toward this exciting project’s completion, please continue to be vigilant and help deputies reduce crime by making the choice not to be an easy target for would-be thieves. There are several simple steps you can take to make it much harder for criminals to commit crimes. The easiest target for a criminal is something they have easy access to, as in an unlocked car door or a garage door left open. An even easier target is a valuable left in plain sight. For instance, leaving your purse, laptop or cellphone on your car seat or keeping those beautiful new golf clubs just a step inside your garage. It only takes a few seconds for someone to help themselves to your valuables and then disappear.

We also ask that if you see something unusual, say something. Don’t hesitate to call the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station at (661) 255-1121 to report suspicious persons wandering around parking lots or neighborhoods (particularly after hours) and/or looking into cars as they walk by. Our city is regularly hailed as a safe place to live and raise a family – a well-deserved reputation thanks to our hard working public safety officials and an engaged community of individuals who look out for one another.

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