Local law enforcement officials noted Friday that repeat offenders continue to be a significant factor in their efforts to reduce property crime, which rose in the Santa Clarita Valley over the same time last year, according to a look at August crime data.
While violent crimes were down in August compared to the same time last year, and remain relatively low in the SCV, property crimes continue to rise.
The SCV Sheriff’s Station received a slight uptick in Part-I crime reports for the month of August compared to the same time the previous year, most of which involve either burglary, larceny or grand theft auto, according to Sheriff’s Department data.
The number of Part-I crimes, which includes everything from burglaries to assault to homicide, were down from the previous month, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s “Transparency Promise” website, which posts all of the department’s reported crimes each month.
There were 256 Part-I crimes reported in the SCV in July 2021 and 235 reported in August 2021. For comparison’s sake, using the same time period in the previous year, in August 2020, there were 216 Part-I crimes. Part-I crimes are used by the FBI to determine an area’s crime rate.
The most positive note for SCV residents would be that violent crimes appear to be down for August in a comparison versus the same time last year. There were 20 aggravated assaults reported in August 2020, and there were 13 reported last month. There were three reported robberies last month, down from eight over the same time last year. There were no homicides during either period. There were three rapes reported to the SCV Sheriff’s Station, one fewer than the same time last year.
However, Part-I theft and property crimes, ranging from burglaries to grand theft auto, continue to make up the lion’s share of the crimes reported to the SCV Sheriff’s Station, and they are on the rise, despite a number of different efforts by city and Sheriff’s Department officials, which have ranged from outreach campaigns to special night-time operations.
“I can tell you that we track our repeat offenders here in Santa Clarita since March of 2020 and what we consider a repeat offender is someone who’s been arrested at least two or more times,” said SCV Sheriff’s Station Capt. Justin Diez, noting that’s only SCV station arrests, and wouldn’t include those same suspects being arrested by neighboring stations or a police department outside the area. “I can tell you the number is growing exponentially every month.”
Data obtained from LASD through the city of Santa Clarita bears this out, with the SCV Sheriff’s Station’s most frequent visitor having been arrested 22 times in 17 months.
The frequent re-arrests also mean repeat offenders are requiring a disproportionate amount of resources, according to Sheriff’s Department data obtained through the city. About 930 individuals account for about 40% for the Sheriff’s Station’s arrests, a figure that totals more than 5,400 for the year.
For most property crimes, the suspects are either released within a few hours at the station or, in rarer cases, within 48 hours once they face preliminary arraignment on their charges, according to officials. The suspects then usually have about four months until they have to return to court, per law enforcement officials, due to the district attorney’s implementation of a no-cash bail system.
In August, there were 146 various theft-related property crimes reported in the SCV, everything from burglaries to vehicle thefts, with 43 of those being vehicle-related thefts. That’s up about 40% from the same time last year, when there were only 87 such property crimes reported.
The preliminary crime reports received in September indicate these types of offenses continue to plague the SCV. On Thursday morning, deputies received nearly two dozen reports of thefts from vehicles in a 24-hour period in the neighborhood surrounding Jakes Way. In that incident, deputies arrested Elivero Quijas, 24, of Panorama City, in connection with their investigation.