By City Manager Ken Striplin
When I meet with officials from other cities, I am proud to represent the City of Santa Clarita because I know our community offers an enviable quality of life. When looking at both public safety and traffic safety in Santa Clarita, I am thankful for the work put in by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department and the City’s Traffic Safety Team to ensure our crime rate and vehicle collision numbers continue to decline.
The City of Santa Clarita’s Traffic Safety Team, which was formed in 2016 and includes members of the Sheriff’s Department and City staff in engineering and communications, has made great progress in reducing collisions and injuries. Since the implementation of the Traffic Safety Plan in 2016, the Sheriff’s deputies have stepped up enforcement of traffic violations, which resulted in nearly 62% more citations.
At the same time, the number of collisions has sharply declined. When compared to 2016, traffic collisions were down more than 28% last year and down 5.5% from 2018 to 2019. These figures show that as the Sheriff’s Department continues its aggressive approach toward traffic enforcement, motorists are getting in fewer accidents. In fact, Santa Clarita’s 2019 collision rate — the number of collisions per 100,000 population — was the lowest it has been since the City began tracking the statistic in 2001. However, while the City has been successful over the last three years in reducing collisions and injuries sustained in traffic incidents, there were still eight fatal collisions in Santa Clarita in 2019.
In 2020, the Traffic Safety Team will continue to focus on data-driven actions to maintain our low collision rate, reduce pedestrian and cyclist collisions and address the number of DUI incidents through enforcement, engineering and education. To learn more, please visit santa-clarita.com/HeadsUp.
A collaborative approach between our Sheriff’s Department, City and vigilant community has resulted in the lowest crime rate on record. Statistics through November 2019 show that incidents of Part I crimes continue to drop in Santa Clarita. This time last year, the City announced that the crime rate was the lowest on record, I am proud to say crime has dropped even further and was down 18.5% through the first 11 months of last year.
Part I crimes are violent offenses that include homicide, rape, robbery, assault and grand theft auto, among others. The proactive approach taken by the Sheriff’s Department, including targeted operations by the Career Offenders, Burglary, Robbery Apprehension Unit and Juvenile Intervention Team, helps to stay a step ahead of gang activity and juvenile crime.
I want to again thank former Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Captain Robert Lewis, now Commander Lewis, for his leadership and service in our community. As the City and County take the next steps in selecting the new captain for our station, I am confident that person will build upon the strong foundation in place. We also look forward to the completion of the new Sheriff’s Station on Golden Valley Road, which will further enhance service and response times. For more information on the new Sheriff’s Station, please visit santa-clarita.com.
Ken Striplin can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in his column are those of the City and do not necessarily reflect those of The Signal.