Saturday, February 25, 2012

CA prison reduction plan pushing up crime rates?

Last year marked the city of Santa Clarita’s lowest crime rate ever.  Santa Clarita is about 35 miles north of Los Angeles,one of the top 25 largest cities in California.  Santa Clarita officials are concerned about the state’s early release of inmates and the transfer of state prisoners to county jails as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and the state's budget woes.

For 2011, the city’s crime rate dropped by 7.81 percent compared to 2010, according to figures released Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  In 2011, there were 2,833 reported incidents within the city, a decline from the 3,073 reported crimes in 2010, according to data reported by The Signal.

“We had a very low crime year,” Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Paul Becker told The Signal. “The lowest by far that we’ve had in a long, long time.”

However, that is not the end of the story. “What we’re seeing now is crime going up,” said Becker.

A month into the new year, the city’s crime rate has increased by 11.93 percent compared to 2010 with 244 reported incidents in January in contrast to the 218 reported incidents in January 2010, the county figures show. Within the unincorporated Santa Clarita Valley, crime has increased by 44.36 percent from 2010 for the same reporting period.

According to The Signal, among the main reasons for January’s crime spike is the release of inmates who are considered by the state to be nonsexual, nonviolent and non-serious crimes. More than 300 early-release inmates are in the Antelope Valley, with an estimated 35 state parolees released early this year.

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