First 3 quarters of 2017 suggest anti-crime initiatives are working
HEMET, CA - The Hemet Police Department has released 3rd quarter 2017 crime statistics confirming a drastic reduction in crime since January 2017. Preliminary data reported to the FBI, and compared to the same period in 2016, shows a 32% decrease in violent crime and an overall 10% reduction in all crimes reported to the FBI. This welcomed good news follows several years of increasing crime due to the negative effect of the Great Recession and a series of state laws and reforms favoring criminals.
"The great recession was devastating to our community. We lost over 30% of our police force overnight and the State and County began releasing tens of thousands of violent criminals into our communities. This perfect storm hit us hard," said Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown. "But we've always known that with adequate resources, a solid plan, and incredibly hard work, we would be able to turn it around. And it looks like it's working," Brown said.
After Hemet voters passed "Measure U" – a 1 cent sales tax committed to public safety - the Hemet City Council authorized the Police Department to implement an aggressive anti-crime initiative. Police Chief Dave Brown told the City Council in January that the community could not wait for the new revenue to come in. He asked for permission to start hiring new officers and deploying specialized units immediately. The Council approved and joined the Chief, District Attorney Mike Hestrin and County Supervisor Chuck Washington in declaring a "war on crime and violence" in April. "While these early numbers are encouraging, we're still fighting the effects of prison ‘reform' and a severely undersized county jail system," Brown said.
Hemet Police Department sworn officer staffing is up over 20% since the City Council approved the Immediate Action Plan in January, from 66 officers to 79. Additionally, the Department has doubled the number of civilian Community Service Officers in order to free up sworn officers for enforcement and prevention activities. As a result, felony arrests are up 40% over the same period last year.
"We predicted this would happen. In fact, we promised it would. But it takes an entire community working together with a unified city council and an extremely committed police force to recover and restore a community. We are well on our way to accomplishing that goal." Brown said. Deputy Police Chief Rob Webb who is slated to take over as Police Chief on December 22 stated, "We still have a long way to go but we will continue to work hard and use our resources to drive down crime and improve quality of life for everyone."
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