The Los Angeles County sheriff reported an uptick in Part-I crimes for the Santa Clarita Valley station, as well as throughout Los Angeles County, in his recent release of crime data on LASD.org.
The latest data from Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s “Transparency Promise” indicates Part-I crime in the Santa Clarita Valley — which includes robberies, assaults and homicide — have seen a 41% uptick in reported incidents versus the previous month, and a 38% increase over the same period last year.
The numbers represent a stark reversal of crime trends from the past several years and months, when Santa Clarita saw repeated declines in crime data.
Law enforcement officials noted the uptick in crime was not a big surprise based on a significant increase in opportunities for crime that come with businesses reopening and people heading back to work — the opposite of which was cited as contributing to the decrease in Part-I crimes that most areas, including the SCV, saw in 2020.
“We’ve got a few things happening — one, everything is opening back up,” SCV Sheriff’s Station Capt. Justin Diez said Tuesday, discussing the uptick. While businesses and entertainment venues are a significant source of jobs and provide tax revenue, they also create opportunities for criminals.
Property crimes continue to be the most common violation, according to Sheriff’s Department data. Purse-snatching, shoplifting and vehicle-theft incidents probably saw the largest statistical increase of any of the Part-I crimes, going from 84 in February to 98 last month — versus 60 such reports over the same time period in 2020.
One of the larger increases that deputies have seen is in burglaries, with the station responding to 31 this past month, an average of one per day for March, versus 22 for the previous month. There were also 12 robberies in March versus five in February.
Diez also noted that the station was not only seeing an increase in vehicle burglaries, they’re also seeing an uptick in vehicle thefts — the difference being that the cars and trucks are unlocked in the latter crime.
Diez also took the opportunity to remind residents of the station’s efforts to reduce crime, namely the #9pmRoutine, which is a campaign with the city to remind residents to lock up their possessions at the end of the day.
The numbers are part of a countywide increase in reported crimes, according to LASD.org data.
The crime numbers indicated that countywide, March saw 11,693 incidents reported — including 5,104 Part-I crimes — versus 4,987 Part-I crimes and 11,385 total reports of criminal activity for February. (Part-I crimes are tracked by FBI officials in determination of crime rates and federal resources, and include arson, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, grand theft auto and arson; other crimes are considered Part-II crimes.)
In January, the SCV reported 666 total crimes, and 232 Part-I incidents; in February, the numbers were 675 and 223, respectively, which would represent a decline in more significant crimes. However, the numbers picked up in March, ending with 314 Part-I crimes, and 794 total reports including three additional days over the previous month.
The increase in pace began Monday, March 1, with the station responding to 31 reports that day, eight of them for Part-I allegations.
The number of repeat offenders, including suspects who are arrested, cited out and then re-arrested within days or even hours, has gone up exponentially, according to local law enforcement officials.
“The number of repeat offenders in Santa Clarita,” Diez said, noting recent law enforcement policy changes, “is rising exponentially each month. It’s very difficult because we make arrests, and they’re cited out several hours later, or released from court at their arraignment 48 hours later.”