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Violent crime rises 20% in Roseville, say FBI data

Published: Friday, Jun. 21, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Saturday, Jul. 6, 2013 - 11:09 pm

Driven mainly by a sharp increase in robberies, Roseville experienced a nearly 20 percent increase in violent crime last year, according to new FBI statistics.

Roseville police reported 293 violent crimes in 2012, up from 248 in 2011. Reported robberies nearly doubled to 84 robberies from 43 the year before.

While one community activist and former City Council member said the increase was a function of the city's growing population, the mayor and police officials say there is no reason for alarm.

Police officials note that the spike in robberies – the forceful taking of property – comes after a sizable dip in 2011 and that Roseville remains a safe place.

"Overall our crime rate is at our lowest in 16 years," said Dee Dee Gunther, a spokeswoman for the department.

Violent crime is down from its peak in 2007, when Roseville police reported 387 violent crimes.

The city's violent crime rate of 2.5 per 1,000 residents is about one-third the violent crime rate in Sacramento.

All told, Roseville police responded to two murders, 15 rapes, 84 robberies and 192 aggravated assaults in 2012.

Nationwide, violent crime increased 1.2 percent in 2012.

Gunther noted that many of the city's robberies aren't classic holdups. She pointed to one robbery this month in which officers responded to a call about a patron refusing to pay his bill and threatening an employee, Gunther said.

The man was also found in possession of methamphetamine, she said.

Roseville Mayor Susan Rohan said she is confident in the work Police Chief Daniel Hahn is doing and the emphasis on neighborhood policing.

"Neighborhoods feel empowered," Rohan said.

Activist Phil Ozenick said the increase in violent crime is consistent with his prediction that crime would rise as the city passed the 100,000 population mark. Roseville now has 122,000 residents, according to the latest census data.

Gunther said after crunching the robbery numbers, the department didn't see a spike in any particular part of the city or any particular type of robbery.

"There is no one single thing that happened," Gunther said.

Absent a pattern, Gunther said it is hard to develop a strategy.

Rohan said the state's 2011 shift of lower-level inmates and parolees to county supervision may be a factor. But Gunther wasn't ready to attribute the increase to that change.

Statewide, violent crime in cities with more than 100,000 residents rose by about 3 percent from 2011 to 2012, FBI data show.

The violent crime rate per 1,000 residents among all those cities is roughly twice the rate in Roseville.

Of the 68 California cities with more than 100,000 residents, Roseville had the 20th-lowest crime rate last year. Oakland was highest, with about 10 times as many reported violent crimes per 1,000 residents as in Roseville.

Call The Bee's Ed Fletcher, (916) 321-1269. Follow him on Twitter @newsfletch.

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