Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Crime statistics released

Auto theft -20.0%

Robbery -14.3%

Violent crime -1.1%

Property crimes +15.8%

In reviewing Fallbrook area crime statistics for the first seven months of 2010, Lt. Mike Barnett, the newly assigned commander of the Fallbrook Sheriff’s substation, said he is pleased to report violent crime, robbery, and auto theft numbers are down compared to 2009. While property crimes have increased over 15 percent for the same time period, Barnett said he expects that a number of arrests his deputies have made in the last two weeks will improve those numbers for the remainder of the year.

“Property crimes have definitely been up, but we’ve made some case closures recently involving people we believe are responsible for many car burglaries, so we expect those numbers to go down shortly,” said Barnett.

Year to date, Barnett said there have been 155 burglaries of all types – residential, commercial and auto.

“[Given the population], the number is not that high, but we are trying to make it better,” he said. Burglary suspects are not the only ones sought by Fallbrook deputies.

“We have made 275 felony arrests this year, and 300 misdemeanor arrests,” said Barnett, adding that misdemeanor arrest numbers are vital to improving area crime statistics overall.

“It’s the misdemeanor folks that are learning to be felons,” said Barnett.

Barnett said one of the most notable statistics for Fallbrook is the fact that deputies have arrested 127 juveniles on misdemeanor charges thus far this year, compared to 76 last year.

“Those types of arrests are up 59.8 percent,” said Barnett. “Juvenile arrests on the felony side are also up slightly.” Barnett said it is hoped that juveniles who are arrested for misdemeanors learn a lesson early on.

“We certainly do hope these juveniles do not progress and become more serious criminals,” he said. “The criminal justice system is set up to give juveniles every opportunity to change their way of life, but if they bypass that and turn into criminals, that’s how they will be dealt with.”

Statistics show that Fallbrook has experienced a big drop in auto theft.

“We are down 20 percent in auto theft,” said Barnett. “Auto thefts go down drastically when auto thieves get arrested; taking one or two off the street can make a big difference in making the numbers go down.”

Barnett also explained that auto thefts are a regional problem, with North San Diego County differing from South County in the reason for the thefts.

“Auto thieves are regional criminals for the most part,” he said, adding that most car thefts in North County are executed for the purpose of transportation, while thefts in the southern part of the county typically involve the vehicle being dismantled (selling parts off independently) or cars being taken across the border and sold.

“Most cars stolen in Fallbrook are not stolen by Fallbrook people; most [Fallbrook] vehicles are found in other areas of North County and it’s obvious they have been used as temporary transportation,” said Barnett. “In the southern part of the county, they either end up stripped or in Mexico. They are really different scenarios altogether.”

Barnett said auto theft cases are worked on a regional basis and arrests lead to statistical impacts on several communities.

“When they arrest people that are regularly stealing a couple of cars a week in the region, the crime rate drops fast,” he said. “We are very excited about the 20 percent reduction we have seen.”

Robbery of all types is down 14.3 percent in the Fallbrook command, Barnett said.

Violent crime, which includes categories such as homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault are down 1.1 percent over the first seven months of 2010, compared to 2009. “Battery with injury or the potential for injury is down 2.8 percent,” said Barnett.

As past commanders have said, with a command area the size of Fallbrook, a small fluctuation in crime numbers can affect percentages quickly. Barnett also confirmed that.

Property crimes, however, are up 15.8 percent and Barnett said this is a statistic the public can assist in reducing.

“What we are seeing more of is car burglaries where items have been left out in plain view,” he said. “Everybody’s got a GPS (global positioning system) device, satellite radio, cell phone, iPod, or expensive items that are easily transferred and can be used by a new owner.”

“If they can be seen inside the car, these items are a frequent target for auto burglars,” he said. “That’s something people need to be aware of.”

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