Property crimes rise, assaults fall

Police report for first half of year includes a homicide

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comSeptember 20, 2012 

Crime was up 18 percent in Los Banos at the half way point of 2012, largely because of a rash of property crimes, according to a Police Department report released this month.

"I'm disappointed in the increase in property crimes reported for the first half of this year," said Police Chief Gary Brizzee. "(However) the decrease in crimes of violence is significant to me."

The report chronicles major crimes, including homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, from January to June.

During the first six months of the year, there were 727 major crime incidents, up from 615 in the same timeframe in 2011.

Burglaries were up 4.4 percent in the first half of 2012, from 184 in 2011 to 192 in 2012. Commercial burglaries increased from 45 to 60 and vehicle burglaries were up from 31 to 34. Residential burglaries saw a decline from 107 to 98, according to the report.

Car thefts were up by 27.5 percent, from 40 to 51. Larcenies, which include shoplifting, bike thefts and similar type crimes, increased 34 percent from 301 to 405.

The report records one homicide so far this year -- a case yet to go to trial where a man is alleged to have killed his roommate in April -- compared to none by June 2011. Los Banos did have three homicides in the second half of last year.

There were no rapes reported through June, down from two such incidents recorded previously.

Aggravated assaults have also declined from 75 as of June 2011 to 65 by June of this year. Of the 65 assaults, 11 of them (down from 30) were classified as gang-related, seven (down from 14) were domestic violence incidents and the remaining 45 consisted of fights, family and neighbor disputes and squabbles in which the victim was uncooperative.

Brizzee attributed the decline in violent crime to his staff and members of the public who report criminal incidents that occur in the community.

Enterprise reporter Corey Pride can be reached by phone at 388-6563 or cpride@losbanosenterprise.com.

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