Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson will “call for an immediate meeting” with city police leaders to discuss this year’s rise in violent and property crimes, he said Sunday.
Through August, Sacramento police responded to 2,511 violent crimes this year, a 24 percent increase from the same period in the prior year, police statistics show. The city had not seen that many violent crimes through August of any year since 2010. The Sacramento Bee noted the increase in a story Sunday.
The increase comes after years of declines in violent crime and corresponds with increasing violent crime rates across the country.
“Over the past seven years, we have seen an overall crime drop in Sacramento to levels that had not been seen since the early 1970s,” Johnson said in a statement. “Despite these efforts and the progress we have made, we have seen an unfortunate trend up in crime this year in Sacramento.
“While this rise in crime appears to mirror the unexplained increases that are plaguing other large cities across our nation, we still must open a local dialogue to identify the issues and responses in our city.”
Violent crime numbers – murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults – are up year-over-year in each of the city’s six patrol districts, but the increase was greatest in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. In North Sacramento’s Patrol District 2, which includes Del Paso Heights, Robla and Del Paso Boulevard, and in south Sacramento’s Patrol District 5, which includes Meadowview, Valley Hi and Mack Road, violent crime has risen by more than 35 percent.
Property crime, a category that includes burglaries, larcenies and car thefts, rose 8 percent through August compared to last year. Central Sacramento’s Patrol District 4, which includes Land Park, South Land Park and the Pocket neighborhoods, saw a 24 percent increase, the largest jump in the city, police records show. Property crime citywide remains below levels seen in 2012 and 2013.
Police told The Bee that they are closely tracking the crime increase and responding by shifting resources to crime hotspots, working with community leaders to reach out to young adults and continuing to hire officers.
Johnson said a new program called Officer Next Door could help with the problem. He said the program added more than $5 million to next year’s budget for public safety and to fund the hiring of more officers and place more focus on gang prevention, among other initiatives.