Newly released FBI statistics reveal overall crime in Riverside County is down by 4.5% in cities policed by the Sheriff’s Department. Those include Palm Desert, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells and Coachella.
“They do a wonderful job, and the more citizens support them and assist them the better it is for all of us,” said Bob Hoffman, who lives in Rancho Mirage.
“We need it to be down. We live in such a great place I’m surprised we have any at all,” said Annette Pellerito of Rancho Mirage.
“I don’t think it’s true. What I read in the paper is there’s lots of crime going on,” said Bob Santee of Palm Desert.
Property crimes, which include burglaries, grand theft auto and felony thefts dropped 5% between 2013 and 2014, with burglaries alone dropping almost 12%.
Homicides decreased by 20%. But it’s not all good news, the rate of violent crimes increased, including aggravated assaults.
“That’s not something you want to go up but if crime’s going down hopefully they get a handle on that soon,” said Jeff Palos of La Quinta.
The nine percent increase is directly attributed to domestic violence cases that are reported as more serious aggravated assaults.
“I think it’s devastating for women or children who have to be concerned with that,” Pellerito said.
“I think that’s a matter of the changing dynamics in the valley,” Hoffman said.
The department says it’s trying to curb those rates by increasing awareness about violence against women.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Stan Sniff attributes the overall drop in crime to an increase in patrol staffing, which he says speeds up response time to calls.
But, the department says it’s still too early to define the impact of Prop 47 passing in calculating local crime. Prop 47 passed in a landslide in November and reduces penalties for some crimes.
News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 reached out to valley cities with their own police departments to see if their crime rates also went down between 2013 and 2014. Here’s what we found:
Indio saw an increase in homicides in 2014, but overall crime was down 17%. Property crimes decreased by 20% and violent crimes decreased by 1%.
In Palm Springs, overall crime went up 14%: property crime rose by 14% and violent crime rose by 16%.
Cathedral City Police says overall crime was down nearly 8 percent.
The Chief of Desert Hot Springs Police told us the department didn’t keep stats for 2013, so there’s no comparison.