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Statistics point to downturn in local crime

A recent report compiled by the San Diego Police Department revealed a 25 percent decrease in property crime and a 43 percent drop in violent crimes such as murder, aggravated assault and rape in La Jolla thus far in Fiscal Year (FY) 2008.

Property crime includes larceny, motor vehicle theft, commercial burglary and residential burglary.

“This decrease in residential burglaries, I know it’s because of the great work that the officers, RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol) and the citizens are doing,” said Shelly Zimmerman, captain of the SDPD Northern Division.

The quarterly report, which compared data from July 2007 through March 2008 to the same period a year before, puts the pure numbers reported on ARJIS.com (Automated Regional Justice Information System) into context.

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“We actually broke it down a little more,” Zimmerman said.

La Jolla is sectioned into two beats: La Jolla Village known as 125 and the area bordered by La Jolla Village Drive on the north, Gilman on the east and La Jolla Scenic/La Jolla Mesa on the south, known as 124.

In the 125 area, there were 12 residential burglaries in the ’08 period and 22 in the ’07 period. Twelve commercial burglaries were reported in the ’08 period, compared to seven in the ’07 period.

“If you look at percentages, that’s a large increase, but we’re only looking at four,” Zimmerman pointed out.

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For the 124 beat, there were 71 commercial burglaries in both the ’08 and the ’07 periods.

The 43 percent decrease in violent crimes translates to actual numbers of 57 reports in the ’07 period as compared to 32 incidences in the ’08 time frame.

“Car prowls” (people breaking into cars) also decreased by 32 percent.

Zimmerman said the police department routinely reviews reports, such as this, not only to monitor problems but to also identify trends in crime. For example, an increase in burglaries in the Bird Rock area coincided with construction in the area.

Police officials took action to address the problem, meeting with community residents, upping patrols and partnering with the RSVP.

The RSVP is a key component in the police department’s community outreach efforts. The trained volunteers assist with patrols, trouble calls, traffic and education.

“Any future commercial burglaries that we have, we’re going to send out one of our RSVP (patrols) and give what we call our basic crime prevention (tips),” Zimmerman said.

This program is also available to residents. RSVP volunteers will assess how to add to home security, provide booklets and help establish a neighborhood watch program.

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“It’s a lot of common sense,” Zimmerman said. “People have a lot of control on what they can do.”

For tips on safety and security, visit

www.sandiego/police

or call the Police Department non-emergency line (619) 531-2000.