Recently released crime statistics compiled by the California attorney general’s office show that violent crime in the state increased by more than 10 percent in 2015.
It was a similar situation in the four-county Sacramento region, where violent crime – defined in the data as homicides, forcible rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults – increased by about 9.4 percent last year. Some agencies’ increases exceeded the state average while others trailed it.
166,588 Total violent crimes in California in 2015
The state-compiled report offered no explanation for the jump from 2014, which came amid a solid economy and follows two years of falling violent crime numbers, part of a steady decline since the mid-1990s. The increases were not confined to particular parts of the state or to cities, unincorporated areas or other types of jurisdictions.
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151,425 Total violent crimes in California in 2014
Among agencies that had at least 100 violent crimes in 2014, some of the largest increases were at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino (125 percent), Susanville (61.7 percent) and Westminster (56.2 percent).
In the Sacramento region, agencies that reported the largest percentage increases included Roseville (23.8 percent), Sacramento (21.7 percent) and West Sacramento (18.7 percent).
“We’re working hard to get those numbers back down to the historic lows” of previous years, said Sacramento police Sgt. Bryce Heinlein, adding there is no hard evidence to explain the increase in 2015.
West Sacramento police Sgt. Roger Kinney echoed that assessment. West Sacramento’s 2016 violent crime count stood at 111 earlier this week – about one-third of the city’s 2015 total – but he noted that police calls pick up during the summer.
194,128 Total violent crimes in California in 2006
Much smaller agencies also had significant increases in violent crime. The California State Fair and UC Davis Medical Center, for example, typically report few violent crimes. For 2015, though, both had spikes in aggravated assaults.
Medical center spokeswoman Carole F. Gan said 15 of the center’s 22 reported assaults in 2015 stemmed from a single incident in which a patient started a fire. That prompted officials to evacuate nearby patients, all of whom were classified as assault victims, although none suffered injuries.
The State Fair reported no violent crime in 2014 but a dozen aggravated assaults in 2015. Fair officials were unavailable for comment.
Other local agencies, meanwhile, reported drops in violent crime in 2015. Those include Elk Grove (down 5.8 percent), Folsom (down 10.1 percent) and Woodland (down 11.1 percent.)
Compared to the state, violent crime in the Sacramento region has had a slightly different composition in recent years.
Aggravated assaults represented more than 63 percent of violent crimes from 2012 through 2015, compared to a statewide rate of about 60 percent.
Robberies made up 33.6 percent of the statewide violent crime total during that time, compared to an average of 29.7 percent in the Sacramento region.