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Police Chief: overall crime down in Citrus Heights, robbery & homicides up

Updated Mar. 8, 1:30 p.m.–
In a recent report to Citrus Heights council members, Police Chief Christopher Boyd reported overall crime in the city is down by 19 percent compared to five years ago, although homicides and robbery rose significantly in 2015. His 20-minute presentation during a Feb. 25 council meeting focused on crime statistics and reduction strategies, as well as collision data and 2016 police department goals.

“We’re really, really celebrating a reduction in crime this year,” Boyd told the council, comparing 2014 with 2015 and commenting that most other cities around the region had noted a significant rise in crime instead. Roseville, for example, has shown a crime increase in “everything but murder,” according to a CBS 13 news report last week.

Crime statistics, Citrus Heights
A slide presented by Police Chief Christopher Boyd to city council members shows crime 5-year crime statistics in Citrus Heights. Credit: CHPD

Although 2015 preliminary crime statistics were released in January and reported on by The Sentinel, Boyd’s report to the council included a more detailed analysis of “Part 1” crime trends for 2014 and 2015, as well as an overview of trends since the department’s inception nearly 10 years ago.

[From January: “Citrus Heights Police: crime reduced by 5% in 2015″ ]

Part 1 crimes are eight categories of crimes required to be reported monthly to the FBI for tabulation in the Bureau’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Part 2 crimes are considered less serious and are only required to be reported if there is an arrest, according to the FBI’s website.

Since 2007, Boyd reported a 29 percent decrease in total Part 1 crime in the city, crediting his department and a good relationship with the community for the reduction. The report showed drops in five of the eight crime categories in 2015 compared with 2014, as well as a similar drop in a five-year comparison.

Boyd’s detailed five-year overview of crime in the city showed significant drops in burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson – but a significant rise in rape, aggravated assault and homicides in 2015, compared to 2011.

In comparing 2011 crime to 2015, motor vehicle theft dropped from 340 down to 271 and burglaries were almost slashed in half, but rape doubled from 15 up to 36 cases, and homicides rose from just one in 2011, to five last year.

Prop. 47 & prison realignment

Boyd said the department has been “building some strategies around some forces that have been working against us,” referring to prison realignment in 2011 and most recently the passage of Prop 47 in 2014, which included reclassifying certain offenses from felonies to misdemeanors.

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In response to a question from Mayor Jeannie Bruins about the city’s homicides last year, the police chief said he didn’t believe any of the killings were “directly attributable” to Prop 47 or prison realignment, but cited his assessment of a connection between Prop 47 and a dramatic rise in shoplifting.

Boyd highlighted a 74 percent increase in shoplift-related robberies in the city in 2015, citing Prop 47 as a motivator for shoplifters. Under the 2014 voter-approved proposition, all thefts under $950 have been reduced to misdemeanors.

Boyd said a “substantial piece” of the robberies occurred as a result of loss prevention workers attempting to stop shoplifters exiting a store, which escalates a “theft” category crime into a “robbery,” due to the involvement of force or fear.

Reduction strategies

In covering crime reduction strategies, the chief listed community-oriented policing programs, collaborating with community members, and programs focused on youth and schools. He also highlighted an emphasis on narcotic and gang offenders, and the use of high-tech “predictive crime analysis.”

Other areas of focus Boyd mentioned for 2016 included focusing on blighted properties, homelessness and camps, and “quality of life” issues. He also said the department would focus on youth programs, domestic violence, and what he listed as “data-driven approaches to crime and traffic safety.”

[Related: Citrus Heights seeks to address area homelessness]

Chief Boyd also said total traffic collisions have hovered around 700 per year for the last five years and listed plans to reduce collisions through various campaigns, targeted enforcement, and the use of grant funds to continue DUI enforcement and regularly scheduled checkpoints.

Comments from the council were minimal, apart from a few clarifications and closing comments from the mayor and vice mayor.

Jeff Slowey, who serves as the City’s vice mayor, told the chief “keep up the good work” and said it was “great to see [the] numbers” Boyd presented. Slowey also said he tells everyone the best decision the City ever made was to form its own police department in 2006, rather than have police services provided by the Sheriff’s Department.

[What are your thoughts on local crime and the numbers presented in Chief Boyd’s report? Post a comment on The Sentinel’s Facebook page.]

*Note: In January, The Sentinel reported CHPD statistics showing a five percent overall drop in crime for 2015 compared to 2014, while Boyd reported a total of four percent. Asked about the difference, Police Sgt. Jason Baldwin said the figures were both accurate but differed due to Boyd’s report traditionally not including “simple assaults,” which he said are the least severe assault offenses and are categorized as misdemeanors.

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