After three years of a decreasing crime rate in Turlock, the crime rate rose by 5 percent in 2019 according to the Turlock Police Department's annual report.
Turlock Police Chief Nino Amirfar said the increase is a direct impact of the budgetary cuts that were imposed on the police department in March 2019.
"Our efforts over the years to reduce crime have been very successful, as we have utilized almost a million dollars in overtime towards proactive programs which resulted in 2018 overall crime rate drop of 4% from the previous year (2017), which had a crime rate decrease of 5% from 2016 and our 2016 crime rate decrease of 7% from 2015," Amirfar wrote in the introduction of the annual report. "While our staffing numbers where very low, we utilized overtime to fund these proactive programs. This was done for several reasons, the first was to show what could be done with a proactive rather than reactive police department.
"The second was to show our community we care and we were willing to forgo time with our families to work 12 to 15-hour workdays with very little time off," Amirfar continued. "Third, was to provide additional programs to build trust with our community that was solely funded through overtime. These resulted in a level of service that provided safety, security, trust and a reduction in crime.
"Unfortunately, in March of 2019, our budget was drastically reduced as were numerous positions," Amirfar wrote. "This resulted in the halt of almost all proactive enforcement and outreach programs. The result was and currently is a reactive police department and a 5% increase in the crime rate for 2019."
In 2019, the Turlock Police Department made 3,372 arrests, of which 149 were of juveniles and 3,223 were adults. The number is a drop from the year prior when they arrested 3,774 individuals. Of the 3,372 arrests, the police department reported 17 use of force incidents for a rate of 0.5 percent. In 2018, the department reported 29 use of force incidents for a rate of 0.8 percent.
In 2019, the patrol unit responded to 46,036 calls for service, which was a 2.8 percent decrease from 2018. There were 54,506 self-initiated calls last year, which was a 19.1 percent increase from 2018.
According to the annual report the patrol unit and proactive teams took the brunt of the impact of the budget cuts. At the start of 2019, the department had 84 allotted police officer positions, which calculates out to 1.14 officers per 1,000 residents in Turlock. By July the number had dropped to 81 for a rate of 1.10 officers per 1,000 residents.
Of all the dispatched calls in 2019, 4 percent were for reports of a suspicious person and verbal disturbances, each. Trespass calls and security checks each amounted to 3 percent of the calls. Most of the dispatch calls (63 percent) were classified as other.
The annual report is in part a yearly accounting of Part One crimes reported within the city limits. Part One crimes are reported to the Department of Justice and help paint a picture of the national crime trends and averages. Part One crimes include homicides, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larcenies and auto thefts.
Except for homicides and rapes, violent crimes were up in Turlock, though by small margins, according to the data from the report.
The Turlock Police Department did not have any homicide investigations in 2019, which made for a 100 percent decline from the nine reported in 2018.
In 2019, the Turlock Police Department had 28 rapes reported, which was just one less than in 2018. The slight drop reversed a three-year trend that has seen the number of reported rapes in Turlock increasing.
The number of robberies in 2019 came in at 137, which was seven more than the year prior. Over the last five years robberies have been up and down depending on the year. The biggest jump was between 2016 and 2017 when the number of reported robberies went from 93 to 144.
The report showed a 1 percent increase in aggravated assaults from 2019 to 2018. In 2019, there were 261 aggravated assaults and in 2018, there were 259.
Burglaries saw the largest increase in 2019, going from 350 reported in 2018 to 402 in 2019. Since 2015, burglaries had been on a downward trend in Turlock. In 2015, the number came in at 603 and saw drops to 475 in 2016, 382 in 2017 and 350 in 2018.
Larceny thefts grew by 3 percent with 1,488 reported in 2019 and 1,447 in 2018. Larcenies had also been trending down over the last couple of years, until 2019. Larcenies have seen decreases over the last several years, partly because of Prop 47, which changed some previous felonies to misdemeanors if the value of the property is below $950.
Motor vehicle thefts stayed fairly steady from one year to the next. The department took 441 reports in 2019, compared to 435 in 2018.
For 2019, Turlock had a crime rate of 37.32 per 1,000 residents, according to the report.