I.E. Crime is on the Rise
By Derek Obregon
Crime stats all across the Inland Empire have raised, especially property crime. San Bernardino had a 24 percent increase, Pomona had a 13 percent increase and Redlands had 14 percent increase in property crime, according to the “Crime in the United States, 2012” report. “Personnel cuts, and significant restructuring are just a couple of reasons crime increased,” said San Bernardino assistant Police Chief Jarrod Burguan.
It’s not only property crimes, homicides have raised in Pomona and San Bernardino. There is no real answer as to why the murder rate increased, but gang violence and drugs could be a major factor behind many of the homicides last year.
San Bernardino recorded 47 homicides in 2012, that’s a 56 percent increase from the previous year. So far in 2013, there have been 30 homicides in San Bernardino. Pomona went from 11 homicides to 17 homicides in 2012, a 54 percent increase. There have been 21 homicides in Pomona this year. It is believed that all of Pomona’s 21 homicides come from narcotics or gang-related activity, said Pomona police Sgt. Hector Rodriguez. Gang murders are hard to solve because the public doesn’t always want to come forward.
Redlands saw a decrease in homicides, going from 3 to only 2 last year, but property crimes were up. “We’ve implemented the ‘while you’re away’ home-surveillance program,” said Redlands spokesman Carl Baker. “We’ve purchased small tracking devices homeowners can attach to valuables.” The devices can be set and they tell police if the property has moved. There is no set charge to use these devices, but a $200 fully refundable deposit is required to obtain this.
All authorities agree that one of the reasons behind the increase in crime for the I.E. is California’s prison realignment program. It aims to reduce the state’s prison population after a federal three-judge panel found that overcrowding conditions kept inmates from receiving adequate healthcare. Under Assembly Bill 109, lower-level offenders (meaning those criminals that are convicted of non-serious, non-violent and non-sexual offenses) are monitored and housed by county institutions. Leaders from all of the counties blame the increase in crime on those offenders being back on the local streets and not being supervised.
“AB 109, the state’s prison realignment program, went into effect, hence releasing prisoners, and property crimes jumped,” Baker said.
It wasn’t all bad news because San Bernardino had 77 rapes reported in 2011 and that number went down to 56 last year, a 27 percent decrease. In Fontana, rape cases decreased by 20 percent. The numbers were down last year, but are going up again because of a reclassification of the law. Before 2013, rape was defined as sexual penetration, no matter how slight, with any body part or object, or oral penetration by another person, without the consent of the victim. That was only applied to gender opposites. According to the FBI, all victims are now included to provide a more accurate understanding of the scope and size of these crimes.