For most people, crime against the person would be the one crime they would most want to go down, but in the absence of that, knowing that car crime has reduced in the United States is good news. Up until last year that was the case but unfortunately the most recent figures show a rise after being in decline for the last 8 years.
Despite the recent falls, there were still more than 715,000 in 2011 and with the recent 1.3% increase much more needs to be done to keep drivers and cars safe. The rise was particularly disappointing as the year before the figures were good and had not been as low since 1967. The figures that have been released shows that Californians are suffering more than most.
Dealing With Lower Funding
It was not a particularly surprising result as there have been cut backs in the police. With a need to keep costs down, decisions had to be made as to where the cuts should fall. Police have been laid off and this has not been ideal, but in the same way there would have been concerns if their equipment or protective items had been reduced leaving on duty officers at risk. Police need to feel safe on the job and cuts need to be looked at in other areas. It makes sense that there will be less emphasis on car crime and a full complement of officers dealing with murder of rape.
Areas of Particular Concern
Certain parts of the country have been hit much worse than others, and California has a much higher increase than the 1.3% quoted. Here there has been a 29% increase and it may have some significance that the cut in personnel has been 30% over the past few years. Modesto is the number one area realising the full impact that the enforced down-sizing of their police team is having. In fact, California has cities that rank, 1st- Modesto, 2 Fresno then 3 is Bakerfield and 4 Stockton for the highest rates per 100,000 residents.
So Why California?
Apart from the reduction of officers both on the beat and available to detect criminals, there are a number of other influences that affects the figures. There are a high percentage of car owners and in fact more cars are registered in California than anywhere else in the USA. It is also easy to remove cars from the state due to the ports and also borders with other states.
Drug use is very high and there is always going to be the need for fast money to pay for drugs. This can lead to more opportunist thefts as well as peoples susceptibility when it comes to coercion to commit offences either for drugs, or to have a drug debt written off.
Is Anything being Done?
Easy to use social media sites are being used as a medium for information sharing and this is bringing in a lot of information regarding perpetrators. Californians seem to be saying “enough is enough” and it must be hard for them to accept their figures when they see reductions in the Midwest and North East.