The second issue is the crime wave that doesn’t exist. Overall crime is down this year. Crime rates have been dropping since May when there was a bump and September saw one of the lowest numbers in the last three years.
Crimes are broken up into two major categories. Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 crimes make up what is commonly known as index crimes. The State of Michigan defines it well:
Index Crime includes murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson. These eight crimes serve as a common indicator of the nation's crime experience because of their seriousness and frequency of occurrence.
In Alameda there are a number of ever-changing narratives around recent increases in crime that don’t hold up to scrutiny. There are two aspects of crime and enforcement that create the snapshot. Crime reports and clearances. On both measures, Alameda is doing ok. The crime rate is down and clearance rates are up. This means that there are fewer crimes being committed AND we are catching more of the people committing them (again, kudos to Alameda’s detectives).
May 2020 saw a spike in Part 1 crimes as Alameda and the county started to open up a little with the Pandemic. This mirrored what the Alameda’s police department reports as increases throughout the County and region.
Since that time, Part 1 crimes have dropped every month and in September are sixth lowest than any time in almost three years. August and September have been below our annual average
Although we have experienced five months of decline we also need to look at annual and quarterly trends as well. These are graphed here for the time I have been on the council. Note that recently quarterly numbers are below 2019 and also similar to pre-June numbers. The dip is the lockdown and the bump is the May 2020 spike.
Not everything is down. Looking at the three-month average ending September 2019 compared to September 2020, we are down a little. In fact, we are down in most of the categories. We are up in:
- Murder (2 more than last year’s 0)
- Rape (3 more than last year’s 4)
- Robbery (4 more than last year’s 72)
Our law enforcement staff are aware and working to bring these down. No one doubts that the only acceptable number is zero. Each of these numbers has a victim and then also family, friends and loved ones who are impacted as well.
Robberies are up over the last couple of months, here’ the three-month rolling average, it needs watching, trend is still down but over the last two years, it’s trending down.
While I could provide graphs for all the crimes, the other one that comes up is Auto Theft. This has seen a slight increase in the last two years (following regional trends again), but the last few months have seen a decrease and September was under the trendline. It’s far too early to say it’s a full-on trend and will bear continued watching.
While not every single metric has gone down, the short-term trends are good. Crime is down, including Part 1 crimes. In this election time, there is an interest in creating narratives that may reflect badly on incumbents but that don't hold up to simple scrutiny.
I have requested information related to staffing and also robbery/assault committed with firearms to provide a deeper understanding for we electeds and also our community.
Because there is a community-led committee that has made a lot of data requests and that data should be prioritized, it may take some time to get further information, but if you have information that you think might help inform ongoing community discussions, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments and I'll add it to my list for future discussion.
Be safe, health and well. And don't forget to social distance and wear a mask.