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Sentinel staff report–
Citrus Heights Police Chief Ron Lawrence in a report to the City Council last week said the pandemic helped contribute to an overall 6% drop in major categories of crime during 2020 — bringing crime levels to their lowest point in the police department’s history.
Lawrence’s report focused on the top eight serious categories of crimes tracked by the FBI, referred to as ‘The Big 8.” The crimes are categorized as persons or property crimes, with property crimes being burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft and arson, while persons crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
The only major category of crime to see a spike in 2020 was in arson incidents, with 7 reported in 2019 compared with 18 reported in 2020, an increase of 157%. Lawrence said four were homeless-related with a “criminal intent,” while one was “to keep warm.” Three arson incidents were related to domestic violence, and 10 were classified as “other.”
While homicides in the city remained the same with two reported in both 2019 and 2020, a drop of 35% in rapes was seen last year, along with 5% drops in both robbery and aggravated assault. Persons crimes also saw an 8% drop in burglaries, and a 6% drop in larceny theft. Motor vehicle thefts remained the same, with exactly 269 thefts reported in both 2019 and 2020.
The police chief credited his department’s crime-fighting efforts along with the pandemic as factors helping reduce crime in 2020. He said residential burglaries were down 31%, noting residents were home more during stay-at-home orders.
Although not tracked in the FBI’s “Big 8” crimes, Lawrence also reported on various other incidents including collisions and catalytic converter thefts.
Total traffic collisions saw a decrease of 8% in 2020, with 721 reported in 2020 compared with 780 the year prior. Catalytic converter thefts saw a 468% increase, which Lawrence said is a statewide trend the department is working to combat.
The department reported receiving a total of 57,515 emergency 911 calls in 2020, along with 72 text-to-911 calls, which is a relatively new feature. Lawrence said 97% of 911 calls were answered in under 15 seconds.
More crime statistics can be found in the Police Department’s 2020 annual report, posted on the city’s website.
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