By Tammy Murga
Signal Staff Writer
The crime rate in Santa Clarita has hit an all-time low, the city announced Thursday.
“Since incorporation, one of the city’s top priorities has been the safety of residents,” Mayor Marsha McLean said in a statement.
Data released by the city shows a 20 percent drop from 2017 to 2018 for part one crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery, burglary and arson. The latest figures surpass the previous, lowest statistics on record in Santa Clarita, which were in 2014.
In 2018, robberies decreased by 26 percent, burglaries fell by more than 16 percent, grand theft autos dropped by 30 percent and assaults declined by nearly 25 percent.
Much of this activity is a result of “proactive efforts, crime suppression operations and all-around dedication of our sheriff’s deputies,” SCV Sheriff’s Station Capt. Robert Lewis said in a statement.
To bring the crime rate down, deputies have implemented special operations, targeted traffic enforcement, directed patrol tactics, the apprehension of suspects, specialized deployments, and public education and awareness efforts.
Lewis said SCV deputies also heavily rely on “the community to be our eyes and ears and report any suspicious behavior. This partnership has played a major role in our effectiveness.”
City Manager Ken Striplin called the decrease in crime extraordinary despite challenges law enforcement has faced as a result of recent legislation and initiatives. He referred to Assembly Bill 109 and Propositions 47 and 57, which “were intended to decrease the state prison population; however, the reality has been a rise in crime in communities across California.”
The question of whether these reforms actually account for an uptick in crime has been argued by many, resulting in multiple studies showing this may be true with some crimes. Those include a UC-Irvine study, which found that factors like unemployment contributed to a rise in property crimes, such as auto thefts, but no evidence backed up an
increase in violent crimes, like murders and rapes.
Part of keeping crime low is prevention and public safety programs. Partnerships with the Sheriff’s Department have resulted in multiple success stories, thanks to programs including the Parent Resource Symposium and the Juvenile Intervention Team, which utilizes an education, intervention and enforcement approach. Investment in projects such as the upcoming, new SCV Sheriff’s Station, slated for completion in 2020, are also part of a continuous effort to maintain Santa Clarita as a safe city, McLean said.
Santa Clarita has been recognized among the nation’s top 50 safest cities and among the top 10 with the lowest numbers of property crimes.
“Santa Clarita has consistently been ranked as one of the safest cities in the nation, but we are always working with the Sheriff’s Department to ensure we stay vigilant and work together as a community to keep it that way,” said McLean.