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Citrus Heights Police: crime reduced by 5% in 2015

Crime statistics released by the Citrus Heights Police Department this week show a five percent reduction in crime for Citrus Heights during 2015, compared to 2014 statistics.

In an email statement Wednesday afternoon, Sgt. Jason Baldwin reported property crime dropped by 4 percent during 2015, and “persons crime” dropped by 8 percent in Citrus Heights. He said property crimes include burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson, and persons crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, and assault.

Overall, the sergeant said the data equates to a five percent reduction in crime for 2015 in Citrus Heights, a figure Mayor Jeannie Bruins said she was pleased to hear.

“I’m very happy with our results, and I think our community will be pleased,” Bruins told The Sentinel via phone Thursday afternoon. She credited Police Chief Christopher Boyd for bringing a program called Crime and Traffic in Citrus Heights (CATCH) to the city several years ago, and said the crime drop was a “direct result” of the program. She said CATCH and its crime mapping technology helps identify “hot spots” and strategic targeting of those areas.

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Also reached by phone Thursday, Sgt. Baldwin provided additional statistics on crime subcategories, with significant drops including a 28 percent decrease in motor vehicle theft, an 18 percent drop in burglaries, and a 13 percent drop in assaults, compared to 2014.

The motor vehicle theft reduction equated to 105 less stolen vehicles in 2015, according to the sergeant. He said Hondas were the number one stolen vehicle, making up 45 percent of the 271 vehicles stolen last year.

Asked about police efforts which may have contributed to the drop in vehicle thefts, Sgt. Baldwin said he couldn’t address specific tactics, other than police had focused on “hot spots.”

Several categories with upticks in crime included robbery, which increased from 89 in 2014 up to 113 last year. Baldwin said police are “still working on this particular category,” but said changes in reporting practices in the private sector may have increased the number of reported robberies.

Another category with an uptick was homicides, which rose from two in 2014 to five in 2015, according to statistics referenced by Sgt. Baldwin, which are tabulated according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting definitions. Police Lt. David Gutierrez previously told The Sentinel that 2015 homicides in the city reached a total of six, compared to three in 2014. Although Gutierrez could not be immediately reached for further clarification, the difference is likely due to one homicide in each year including an officer-involved shooting, which the FBI says are tabulated separately as “justifiable homicides,” after a law enforcement investigation.

[Related: Body ID’d in latest Citrus Heights shooting; 6th homicide of 2015]

Local annual crime data was released in response to a Jan. 4 request by The Sentinel, which Sgt. Baldwin said CHPD requested from the California Department of Justice. Baldwin said law enforcement agencies are required to report monthly crime statistics to the DOJ, which in turn forwards the data to the FBI and is used in the Bureau’s annual Uniform Crime Report.

2015 crime data from other agencies is largely unavailable this early on for comparison, although the Rancho Cordova Police Department, which publishes crime data on its website on a monthly basis, reported an increase in both person and property crime during January through October of 2015, compared to the same period the prior year. As of Jan. 14, Rancho Cordova’s online statistics did not include data more recent than October of 2015.

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Crime data was released by the FBI in its 2014 crime report just a little over three months ago, and the California DOJ released its latest 2014 crime report in July of the following year. According to the latest DOJ report, California’s “crime rate decreased for almost every offense between 2013 and 2014.” A state crime report for 2015 is expected this summer.

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