Berkeley’s police department yesterday issued a press release which claimed that the city has experienced significant decreases in both violent crime and property crime in the first six months of 2011.
The release did not document specifically how the Berkeley statistics compare with national statistics or statistics for comparable college towns in the same period , though it did assert without supporting data that the local property crime decrease was ahead of state and national trends. No comparison of violent crime statistics to state and local trends was included.
Here is the text of the release:
“The City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Crime Analysis and Records Units have completed work on crime statistics for the first six (6) months of 2011. ‘Based on preliminary FBI Uniform Crime Statistics (UCR), for the first six months of 2011, Part One Violent Crime in Berkeley declined by 4% while Part One Property Crime declined by 16%. Part One Crime includes Homicide, Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Theft, Auto Theft and Arson. Based on preliminary data for “2010 and the first few months of 2011, decreases in Part One Property Crime appear to be ahead of both state and national trends.Graphs illustrating the statistics and a summary of the raw data which went into them can be found here.
While violent crime is of paramount concern, the City of Berkeley Police Department has increased its efforts in dealing with the significant level of property crime in the City. The most common crime, theft, is frequently a crime of opportunity with suspects focusing on personal property (e.g., GPS, laptops, smart phones, purses) left unattended or left visible in parked vehicles.
“To address this, the BPD is employing multiple strategies including focused attention in areas and at times where crimes are occurring, multiple weekly crime analysis meetings and concentrated efforts on habitual offenders. In addition, BPD is working with the District Attorney to encourage a priority in charging and stronger sentences for chronic offenders. Finally, BPD is working with the University of California Police Department (UCPD) to educate students on the small lifestyle changes that can lessen their chances of being victimized.”