Crime Statistics Bode Well for Coachella Valley’s Second-largest City

CATHEDRAL CITY — Last year, an alarming increase in homicides left communities — often in lockdown — reeling as officials searched for answers. This was not the case in Cathedral City where Police Chief George Crum is expected to tell the City Council on Wednesday that the city’s five-year crime statistics are down overall 50% for Part 1 crimes.

Part 1 crimes are murder, manslaughter, sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

Overall Cathedral City has experienced a 50% decrease in Part 1 crimes from 2016 through the end of 2020. In comparing 2019 Part 1 crimes to 2020 Part 1 crimes, Cathedral City experienced an overall reduction in Part 1 crimes of 22%. Crum states that he reviewed surrounding jurisdictions’ Part 1 crimes for 2019 and 2020 which revealed a 25% decrease in crime in Desert Hot Springs, a 23% decrease in crime in Indio and a 13% decrease in crime in Palm Springs.

“Over the past five years, Cathedral City has continued to experience a decrease in Part 1 crimes which are reported to the Department of Justice on a monthly basis,” Crum writes in a report he prepared for the City Council. “Our city’s decrease in crime is attributed to a number of factors which include a responsive and proactive police department, having a trusting relationship with our community we serve and having a good working relationship with our allied agencies in the Coachella Valley.”

In Cathedral City, five-year crime statistics show that homicide decreased 17%, rape decreased 25%, robbery decreased 47%, aggravated assault increased 5%, burglary decreased 61%, larceny decreased 47% and motor vehicle theft decreased 58%. Felony domestic violence assaults are included in the overall number of aggravated assaults.

“(The year) 2020 was a year like none of us in Public Safety have seen or experienced,”  Crum states in a report for the City Council.  “Many cities experienced a significant increase in violent crimes and decreases in property crimes. On the other hand, many cities experienced significant reductions in violent crimes and property crimes.”

In evaluating Part 1 crimes from calendar year 2016 through calendar year 2020, Crum states that he looked at total number of Part 1 crimes committed each year. Totals for each respective year are as follows. 2016 (1247 crimes), 2017 (929 crimes), 2018 (901 crimes), 2019 (806 crimes), 2020 (629 crimes).

As you can see, the number of Part 1 crimes has decreased each year from 2016 through 2020, according to Crum.

The Police Department utilizes current and historical crime data to deploy personnel more effectively and efficiently to assist in reducing crime and fear in the community, according to Crum. His presentation will consist of a five-year comparison of Part 1 crimes covering calendar years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. A second two-year comparison of Part 1 crimes will be presented covering calendar years 2019 and 2020.

Cathedral City mirrors what has been happening in some —not all — other cities across the country.

David Abrams, a University of Pennsylvania law and economics professor, has been keeping an eye on numbers across the country. The website he created details what’s been happening with crime in more than 25 major cities during the COVID-19 crisis.

“People have reacted to the pandemic in all sorts of ways in decreasing economic activity,” Abrams told NPR. “They stopped going to work, they stopped driving their car. They stopped walking around the city, and crime also stopped.”

Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Chicago all have witnessed a drop of more than 30%. Violent crimes such as aggravated assaults and robberies also fell substantially.

Crum is scheduled to deliver his report at the Study Session on Wednesday, February 24 at 3 p.m.

This meeting may be conducted by videoconference or teleconference and there will be no in-person public access to the meeting location. If you would like to attend the meeting via Zoom please use the following link to register in advance:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mBgEvPJeQMOax0ATCiqkuA

Normally no action is taken on Study Session items, however, the City Council reserves the right to give specific policy direction and take specific action as necessary.

 

 

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