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Sentinel staff report–
Crime in the largest business district in Citrus Heights continues to drop, with the district’s new full-time officer credited with the results.
From Jan. 1 to March 31 of this year, preliminary police statistics for the Sunrise MarketPlace business improvement district show an overall drop of 26% in the top 8 categories of crime tracked by the FBI, compared with the same period in 2020.
The April 14 report shows robbery, aggravated assault, larceny theft, and car theft all down. Homicides and rape both remained the same, with no incidents reported either year.
The only categories of increase were arson and burglary. One arson incident was reported this year compared to none last year, and there were four more burglaries this year: 11 incidents compared with seven last year.
Police said in a 7-page report shared by the business district that the drop in crime is primarily associated with a drop in the number of shoplifting-related crimes, categorized by the FBI among larceny thefts. Larceny theft in 2021 saw a drop of 33% compared to the first quarter of last year, with 86 reported in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 58 this year.
The report notes shoplifting is the primary crime occurring in the business district, which covers 400-plus businesses in the Sunrise-Greenback commercial corridor, including Sunrise Mall. Most popular shoplifting days are Thursday-Sunday, between 3-9 p.m., according to the report.
Police said three robberies reported in the first quarter all began as shoplifting but turned into robberies “after being confronted by store staff.” In a prior update last summer, police said a reduction in traffic in the area because of COVID-19 shutdowns was contributing to a drop in crime, along with the district’s hiring of a dedicated patrol officer.
In an April 15 email sent out by Sunrise MarketPlace, the district announced the drop in crime, saying: “thanks to our amazing Officer Jeff Schouten.” Schouten was hired by the district last year, officially taking his position May 12.
According to a contract with the city approved last year, the district agreed to pay approximately $177,000 per year to cover the cost of the officer’s full salary and benefits.
The district is funded by a special parcel assessment voted on and paid for by property owners within the district’s boundaries. Owners are deciding this year whether to renew the assessment for another three years, or let the district dissolve.
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