2021 Crime Statistics in Cathedral City topic of Study Session

CATHEDRAL CITY — Less than one month after SafeWise listed Cathedral City as the only Coachella Valley city in California to make 2022’s top 50 safest cities list, Police Chief George Crum will provide the City Council with a 2021 Annual Crime Statistics Update of his own.

Crum will make his presentation to the City Council during a Study Session on Wednesday, April 13. His presentation will consist of a five-year comparison of Part 1 crimes covering calendar years 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. A second two-year comparison of Part 1 crimes will be presented covering calendar years 2020 and 2021. The FBI defines Part I crimes as criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft, grand theft auto and arson.

“2020 and 2021 were years like none of us in Public Safety have seen or experienced,” Crum wrote in a report prepared 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. Across the nation in 2021, the crime of murder increased by 5% in major American cities and homicide increased a staggering 44% over 2019 according to the Council on Criminal Justice. In my research, several factors have contributed to the homicide increases across the nation which include calls to “Defund the Police”, the number of guns in circulation in our Country, police officer
recruitment and retention issues as well as unintended consequences of propositions and laws passed.”

Cathedral City’s totals for each respective year are as follows. 2017 (912 crimes), 2018 (895 crimes), 2019 (750 crimes), 2020 (793 crimes) and 2021 (916 crimes). The number of Part 1 crimes has decreased in some years and increased in others.

The city’s two-year Part 1 crimes saw a 40% decrease in homicide, a 26.6 % decrease in rape, and a 3.1% decrease in robbery. The city experienced a 30.1% increase in aggravated assaults, a 13.2% increase in burglary, a 0.3% increase in larceny and a
41.6% increase in motor vehicle theft.

Felony domestic violence assaults are included in the overall number of aggravated Aasaults and 54 of the 108
reported aggravated assaults were domestic violence.

Overall Cathedral City experienced a 15.5% increase in Part 1 crimes from 2020 through the end of 2021. In 2021, the pandemic restrictions were easing, and more people were going back into the workforce and not spending as much time at home as we saw in 2020, according to Crum. Fewer people working from home presented more opportunities for home burglaries and auto theft to take place.

Crum stated that he reviewed surrounding jurisdictions’ Part 1 crimes for 2020 and 2021 which revealed a 40% increase in Part 1 crimes Palm Springs, a 21% increase in Part 1 crimes in Desert Hot Springs and Indio had a 2% decrease in Part 1 crimes. Over the past two years, Cathedral City has not experienced the significant increases in homicides as its surrounding jurisdictions, according to Crum.

“Our city’s decrease in most violent crime is attributed to several 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,” Crum stated in his report.

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.