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A Look into the City’s 2017 Crime Statistics

Last month, the City and the Santa Clara Police Department published their 2017 crime statistics to their website. These numbers include reported Part I crimes, which are violent crimes—murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault—and property crimes—burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.

The total reported Part I crimes in 2017 are higher than in 2016—4,280 versus 3,380—but so are the totals for police reports—about two thousand more reports in 2017—and calls for police service—about three thousand more calls in 2017. So, this can be part of the reason why the total crimes seem high, residents were simply reporting crime more.

Looking at specific crime numbers, there were two homicides in 2017 in Santa Clara compared to three in 2016. There are some details about the homicides on the website: “7/5/17 Homicide (Case #17-5727) resulting in the arrests of Eric Carter and Giovanny Ortiz on 7/7/17; 8/8/17 (Case #17-6766) with the suspect identified as Michael Reyer (husband of victim).”

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There were considerably more rapes in 2017 as well, about twice as much as in 2016. In fact, almost all reported Part I crimes were higher in 2017, except homicide, arson—which stayed consistent—and vehicle theft—2016 saw 413 vehicle thefts, while 2017 saw 400 thefts.

The most-reported crimes were larceny theft, or theft of personal property, 2,810; assault (simple and aggravated), 536; burglary, 408; and vehicle theft, 400. The website has statistics visible from 2012 and these four crimes are consistently the highest every year. However, in 2017 larceny theft was the highest it has been since 2012.

According to the City’s website, SCPD participates in the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program—a statewide law enforcement program designed to provide a nationwide view of criminal activity. The UCR program classifies crime into two groups: Part I and Part II offenses. Each participating agency is required to report Part I crime statistics on a monthly basis to the California Department of Justice, which is then forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

The website goes on to explain that the FBI combines the crime data from each of the participating agencies and publishes their findings in an annual Uniform Crime Report (www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/Crime.cfm).

The statistics described are to be finalized, and possibly reclassified, in accordance with the UCR guidelines.

The City has also released the Part I crime statistics for Jan. 2018 and the statistics for February should be published soon as well. To view those statistics and other crime statistics visit: santaclaraca.gov/government/departments/police-department/crime

According to the e-Notify email sent regarding the 2017 crime statistics, “The City of Santa Clara experiences low crime rates every year. In fact, Santa Clara was named the 20th Safest City in America in 2017 based on a comprehensive assessment of the overall safety according to Niche Data.”

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