Crime rate down nationwide but Americans don’t believe it

Encouraging news locally

Merdies Hayes | 8/19/2016, midnight
The crime rate in both local and national jurisdictions is reportedly in steady decline, yet public perceptions of safety appear ...

The crime rate in both local and national jurisdictions is reportedly in steady decline, yet public perceptions of safety appear in opposition to the latest law enforcement statistics.

In Palmdale, city officials and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have announced a 18.4 percent decrease in the number of Part 1 crimes reported in the second quarter of 2016, reportedly slowing the pace of the city’s overall crime rate which has resulted in a projected 210 crimes-per-10,000-population for the year. “Part 1” crimes include criminal homicide, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, car theft and arson.

Less crime in Palmdale

To place the numbers into perspective, Palmdale’s crime rate was 467.71 (per 10,000 population) 20 years ago when the city set a goal to drive the crime rate below 300 by 2009. The goal was accomplished by that specified time and, seven years later, the city’s crime rate has fallen below 200, according the Sheriff’s Department.

If you compare these numbers to the second quarter of 2015—with the homicide rate remaining relatively unchanged—the latest results in Palmdale reveal that aggravated assault was reduced by 10 percent, burglary is down 31 percent, robbery dropped to 23 percent, larceny/theft is down 15 percent and grand theft auto reduced to 20 percent. Areas with reported increases were arson (up 17 incidents over the 14 cases in the prior quarter), and rape, which increased 13 percent. Officials have cited a change in the FBI classification of rape as a possible reason for the increase in cases of violent sexual assault.

In total, there were 1,641 Part 1 crimes in Palmdale at the end of the second quarter of 2016, down from the 2,010 crimes recorded during the second quarter of 2015. Local officials believe that a continued partnership between residents and law enforcement have made a considerable difference and could be the reason for the reduction.

In the fight against terrorism, the phrase “see something, say something” has reportedly aided law enforcement in foiling deadly plots. In terms of reducing and/or preventing Part 1 crimes, the same could be true locally.

Community involvement

“The crime reduction that we have continued to experience in the city of Palmdale is the result of a teamwork effort involving the Sheriff’s Department, city staff, the community, and the support of our local leadership,” said Captain Dennis Kneer of the Palmdale Sheriff’s station. “[Sheriff’s Department] will continue building the public’s trust through our community policing efforts.”

Palmdale’s Neighborhood Services has worked throughout the years to meet the crime reduction threshold and keep the statistics in decline. Again, community involvement has made a big difference.

“We’ve worked over the years to get the crime rate below the 200 mark, and we intend to keep it there,” said Mike Miller, director of Palmdale Neighborhood Services. “Working with our community partners, residents, businesses and law enforcement, we will continue our progress and focus on the areas where we can improve.”

At Palmdale City Hall, the news couldn’t have been more positive. Officials there believe these facts will only go toward attracting new business to town and, importantly, improving “quality of life” measurements throughout the community.