The good news on the local crime picture is that, overall, crime is ever-so-slightly lower from the same time last year, when most of the world was shut down, and violent crimes remain low in Santa Clarita, which points to its crime numbers as why it’s one of the safest places in America.
The bad news: Property crime continues to make up a large portion of the numbers that are being reported, a “surprising” number are happening from unlocked or unsecured areas and many of those being arrested when caught are being re-arrested a short time later due to a lack of prosecution.
The crime numbers remained steady from the same point last year, according to the data available from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s “Transparency Promise” website, which releases all Part-I crime reports each month — the basis for how the FBI’s public safety rankings are based. (These crimes include the more serious crimes, such as assault, robbery and murder, as well as most burglary-related charges.)
In July 2020, in the midst of the quarantine and L.A. County Public Health’s Safer at Home Order last year that left most businesses shuttered, there were 259 Part-I crimes committed in the Santa Clarita Valley, and in July 2021, there were 256.
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Justin Diez said that, at the risk of sounding repetitive, property crimes continue among the station’s biggest commonly reported crimes, a problem that’s exacerbated by the frequent re-release of repeat offenders.
“Almost everybody we arrest is released, either within four to five hours with a citation or released within 48 hours at arraignment,” Diez said.
“Our biggest problem for July, and I hate to sound like a broken record, is larceny, theft and GTA,” Diez said, noting that he was reiterating the same message from May and June when those crimes were also the area’s most common, as well as messaging from the city and the station in regard to a pair of social media campaigns aimed at reminding people to lock their cars and garages.
While property crimes tend to be the less-serious of the Part-I crime categories, they continue to be a growing problem in Santa Clarita.
In June, property crimes, including burglary, larceny and grand theft auto reports, accounted for about 105 of the station’s 212 Part-I crimes, according to the Sheriff’s Department’s data online. In July, there were 146 of those crimes, accounting for 57% of the station’s Part-I crimes. In July 2020, those same categories accounted for 131 of the station’s 259 Part-I crimes. For comparison, in July 2019, which had one of lowest crime totals on recent record for the SCV, there were 249 Part-I crimes reported in the SCV, and property crimes accounted for 117 of those crimes.
Diez said the enforcement priorities for August included more visibility near schools due to increased traffic with summer break over for most, with deputies particularly keeping an eye out for distracted driving, among other violations.
“The important thing I want to get across,” Diez said, “is that the Santa Clarita Station will never stop our proactive approach to law enforcement. We’re going to continue identifying offenders, continue making arrests and continue investigating crimes and trying to find justice for victims.”