Property crimes in Placerville were up by 31 percent in 2013. That was one of the statistics presented to the Placerville City Council by Police Chief Scott Heller at the Feb. 11 meeting.
In a brief presentation, Heller provided a breakdown of the 2013 crime statistics for the city, comparing them to the 2012 report. “Violent crime has remained mostly flat, while property crimes have significantly increased,” said Heller. “The State of California Realignment of Prisoners (AB109), the habitual transient offender challenges and slow economic recovery are all believed to be factors in the increase, but it is difficult to pinpoint which factor is driving it.”
Last year, 2013, was the first full year the Placerville Police Department tracked contacts with AB109 probationers, recording 153 duty hours spent on 54 contacts. Habitual transient offenders incidents increased by 92 percent from 2012 to 2013, particularly from July to October. PPD is continuing to gather and track data from contact with habitual transient offenders and AB109 probationers.
“Property crimes are up throughout the state,” said Heller. “It’s a challenge.” There were 92 burglaries, 172 larcenies and 30 auto thefts in 2013 in Placerville, all of which are considered property crimes.
Placerville PD response has been to increase visibility in “hot spot” areas and is in the process of developing a reserve officer program to augment its full time force. Reserve officers can assist with habitual transient offenders challenges, provide extra patrols in impacted areas and free up full-time officers to proactively focus on current crime trends. “We are also expanding our social media usage to enhance community policing,” said Heller.
Heller cited a recent auto theft where a vehicle was stolen from the parking garage. “We put still shots of the suspect from the surveillance cameras on Facebook and Twitter and were quickly able to identify the individual and solve the crime, entirely through social media,” said Heller.
Councilwoman Wendy Thomas asked how many of the habitual transient offenders were also AB109 probationers. Heller replied that 16 of the AB109 probationers were homeless. This was spread over the entire Western Slope and included nine out of the 66 Post Release Community Supervision probationers and seven of the 55 Mandatory Community Supervision probationers. “Because they are transients, it is hard to say whether they are from Placerville or elsewhere on the Western Slope,” said Heller.
In a phone call with the Mountain Democrat, Heller said habitual transient offenders are only a small subset of the homeless population. “We want to identify those causing problems and differentiate them from the homeless in crisis,” he said.
As this was an information item, no action was taken by the City Council.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.