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Wednesday, Jan 22 2014 06:00 AM

Statistics point to crime reduction in Tehachapi

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Crime was down in Tehachapi in 2013.

That's the word from Tehachapi Police Chief Jeff Kermode who last week released his department's crime statistics.

For "Part I" crimes -- which are those crimes reported to the FBI each year for national comparisons -- had an overall reduction of 19 percent compared to 2012, the Chief said. The nine Part I crimes include Homicide, Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Burglary, Larceny (theft), Auto Theft, and Arson.

The statistics included reductions of 22 percent for Robbery, 38 percent for Aggravated Assault, 5 percent for Simple Assault, 13 percent for Burglary, 24 percent for Larceny and 3 percent for Auto Theft, he noted.

The only crime showing an increase from 2012 to 2013 was Rape, with five reported in 2013 compared to four in 2012.

The year 2013 also ended with a significant increase in arrests over 2012. The 2013 arrest statistics reflected increases of 49 percent for Misdemeanors, 31 percent for Felonies and 23 percent for juveniles, Kermode said. The juvenile arrest numbers are included within the Misdemeanor and Felony arrest totals.

The TPD appreciates the community's awareness and support in recognizing and reporting suspicious activity, which can lead to arrests and reduction of crime, the Chief said.

He told the Tehachapi News that he believes several factors were involved in achieving the reduction.

"Our officers have been very focused on many of our chronic offenders, using a zero tolerance approach," he said. "As we can make arrests for what might be considered minor crimes, it can make an impact on the crime rate by eventually getting the offenders sentenced to some jail time. If we can get them off the street, they aren't committing new crimes. Since much of our property crime is driven by illegal drug use, drug related arrests can help reduce those property crimes."

Regarding the reduction in assaults, the Chief pointed to proactive patrols of our alcohol establishments as helping to reduce alcohol related violence, along with aggressive enforcement of domestic violence laws.

These approaches eventually have an impact, he said.

"Finally, I believe that community awareness about the impacts of prison realignment and the use of social media has helped the public become more informed and more careful about securing their property," the Chief noted. "I believe that our community has become more aware of what is going around them and it has made them more willing to call us about suspicious activity."

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