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Californias violent crime rate drops 6.6 percent
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For the third consecutive year California has become a safer place to be with declining violent crime rates, according to the California Department of Justice’s annual crime report for 2009 released on Friday.

“This latest drop in crime is good news for Californians and reflects well on the dedicated and courageous efforts of peace officers throughout the state,” said Edmund G. Brown Jr., California attorney general. “Yet it is no cause for complacency. Crime remains a serious problem in California, and law enforcement officials at every level must redouble their efforts to ensure public safety.”

Throughout the 58 counties in California, the state’s homicides have declined by 8.9 percent, robbery declined by 8.6 percent, motor vehicle theft declined by 15.8 percent, violent crimes declined by 6.6 percent and arson declined by 14.3 percent, according to the report.

There have been 20,000 fewer violent crimes in 2009 than in 2006 throughout the state and since California’s crime peak in 1992, crimes have been cut by at least half, according to the attorney general’s office.  

Overall, crime rates in Stanislaus County have also dropped, although there were reported increases in burglaries and arson within the past year.  

Burglary increased by 1.6 percent and arson increased by 5.2 percent, according to the Criminal Justice Statistics Center.

Other crimes decreased from 0.2 percent up to 14 percent with motor vehicle theft declining the most at 14 percent.

Violent crimes in Stanislaus County have dropped by four percent, but the number of homicides increased by 15 people from 2008 to 2009, according to the Criminal Justice Statistics Center. Forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault declined from 2008 to 2009 under violent crimes.

Turlock has also seen a third consecutive year of declining violent crime rates.

From January through Oct. 31, 2009, 2,770 violent crimes were reported in Turlock, down from 3, 656 violent crimes in 2008, and 4,831 violent crimes in 2007.

“We’re at the very beginning of results with the Street Crimes Unit, Traffic Enforcement and Gang Prevention Task Force,” said Turlock Police Chief Gary Hampton in January. “We are already seeing benefits over the past 18 months. I can’t wait to see what it looks like 18 months from now. It has exceeded my expectations.”

However, the number of commercial and residential burglaries reported through October 2009 to the Turlock Police Department grew by 31 percent compared to the same time frame in 2008.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.