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Police Chief: Crime at lowest level since Citrus Heights PD was formed

Sentinel staff report–
Citrus Heights Police Chief Ron Lawrence told the City Council in an April 11 annual report that crime has dropped to its lowest level since the police department was formed in 2006.

The chief’s latest report summarized the latest annual statistics on eight categories of serious crime tracked by the FBI. Compared to 2017, last year’s crime numbers showed declines in nearly every category.

The police chief’s report showed a 10% drop in rapes, a 15% drop in robberies, and a 3% drop in assaults. Burglary was also down by 12%, larceny/theft down by 11%, and motor vehicle theft down by 8%, dropping from 356 vehicle thefts in 2017 down to 329 last year.

Homicides remained at a single case in 2017 as well as in 2018, while arson increased from 11 incidents in 2017 to 12 last year. Compared with the prior year, crime was down a total of 10%, with 325 less victims in the city during 2018, Lawrence said.

“I’m proud to say this, (2018) is the lowest crime year we’ve had as a police department, and that’s a pretty banner year for us,” Lawrence told the council, crediting police officers and staff for their work.

Police data shows that in 2006, the year the Citrus Heights Police Department was formed, there was a total of 3,958 “Part 1” crimes in Citrus Heights. By 2014 that number had dropped to 3,091, and in 2018 that number dropped to 2,816.

Noting crime trends have not dropped or increased significantly over the past five years, Lawrence also told the council he believes “we’ve hit kind of a flat line.”

“What this trend tells us is that barring any additional resources to the police department and presuming there’s not going to be any impacts from the state on any wild police reforms… this trend should relatively remain, if all things remain equal,” Lawrence said.

The police chief’s annual crime report is traditionally presented to the City Council each year in March and is based on crime data from “Part 1” of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which tracks eight categories of crimes that are broken down by property crimes and persons crimes. Property crimes include burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson, and persons crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

The police chief’s report also included statistics on traffic collisions, which increased by 3% in 2018, rising from 744 collisions to 764. The top collision factor was unsafe speed, which was listed as a factor in 37% of collisions in the city last year.

Lawrence said the increase meant “we’ve got some work to do,” noting that the department will be focusing on traffic safety, education and enforcement this year to lower collision rates.

Additional statistics on traffic citations, arrests, DUI checkpoints, police response times and other summaries were also included in the report, which can be viewed in the slideshow at the top of this story.

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