Parolees not responsible for the uptick in crime

A parolee sweep in Lancaster on March 8, 2012 netted six arrests. (File photo)

A parolee sweep in Lancaster on March 8, 2012 netted six arrests. (File photo)

LANCASTER – The recent surge in murders and burglaries in Lancaster has left many residents wondering what is happening and who is responsible. Some have pointed fingers at the parolees being released early into Lancaster due to the state prison realignment that began in early October.

Not so, says the city’s Criminal Justice Analyst Jim Kobolt.

“I don’t see any evidence for it,” Kobolt told the Lancaster Criminal Justice Commission Wednesday.

In presenting the Monthly Crime Statistics, Kobolt said parolees accounted for only 8% of the arrests for violent crimes and 9% of the total arrests in Lancaster from May 1, 2011 to April 25, 2012.

Lancaster Criminal Analyst Jim Kobolt (file photo)

Probationers accounted for 20% of the arrests for violent crimes and 22% of the total arrests during that period, Kobolt said.

“From an analyst’s perspective, I’m far more concerned with the people who have a prior criminal record who are not on probation and not on parole,” Kobolt said.

People with a prior criminal record who are not on probation or parole accounted for 38% of the total arrests and 43% of the arrests for violent crimes between May 1, 2011 and April 25, 2012.

Additionally, first time offenders accounted for 32% of the total arrests in Lancaster.

“One of the things that this city and the sheriff’s department have been pushing hard on is to get people to secure their property, secure their homes and their cars,” Kobolt said. “Typically the first time offender does not have a real high skill level in this area, and the first time offender is often times the juvenile who walks down the street at two o’clock in the morning and flips the door handles to see if the car’s unlocked.”

Kobolt said the city had expended funds and resources to crack down on parolees based on a perceived risk that the data does not support.

“We’ve seen an increased focus on parolees with the formation of a unit that’s going down and keeping track of them and monitoring them, but the arrests that they’re making for them are not necessarily part one crimes; they are for other crimes, for example a possession of marijuana, maybe possession of stolen property,” Kobolt said. “The only movement we are seeing with part one crimes (committed by parolees) is a downward trend.

Kobolt suggested the city use its arrest data to shift its resources to the real problem – first time offenders and arrestees with a prior criminal history.

“It’s great to draw assumptions and everything else, but we’re dealing right now with a time of scarce resources and a limited amount of money,” Kobolt said. “When we have one group that’s showing an upward trajectory and we have another group that’s showing a downward trajectory, I have to look at that and wonder.”

The City’s crime data was gathered using the booking slips from arrests that occurred within the Lancaster city limits. The data also revealed that homicides and burglaries were trending up, while robberies, assaults and larceny were trending down.

The view the complete report presented at the Lancaster Criminal Justice Commission Meeting Wednesday, click here, and then click “May” from the list of links.

  20 comments for “Parolees not responsible for the uptick in crime

  1. Gladdis
    May 11, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Why would both the CORE Team and the Burglary Suppression Team all be off on fridays? Is friday a low crime day statistically?

  2. Darius White
    May 10, 2012 at 7:13 am

    A few comments regarding this analysis:

    A person released from state prison is placed on parole, while one released from the county jail is placed on probation. If a person is transferred from state to county (due to the state prison realignment that began in early October) and then released, are they released on parole, or are they now on probation? That could possibly skew the results.

    Since 69% of the crimes occurring during this period are committed by people with criminal records (regardless of parole/probation status), it seems that the LASD approach of focusing increased attention towards those with criminal records is a valid strategy. This is further validated when one considers that the group of 32% first-time offenders will now be classified in the previously-noted 69% category. If history repeats itself (and it usually does), Lancaster can now expect the 69% figure to increase with the results of the next “Monthly Crime Statistics” report.

    One last comment: be careful when using statistics. Their meaning, in most cases, only benefits the individual or group presenting them, and the agenda of that individual or group’s sponsor.

    • Long time AV resident
      May 10, 2012 at 7:33 am

      Defendants who receive county jail instead of state prison according to the new realignment are not placed on probation. That is the problem. Example: a non-violent crime, will get you 16 months county jail, where it use to be state prison. The defendant will probably only do 10% of that time because county jail is so overcrowded. So now this defendant is released back in to the community with absolutely no supervision.

    • [Removed]
      May 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable. Therefore, since statistics are 100% accurate 78.4% of the time, we can rely on this data much like a drunk uses a lamp-post; for support rather than for illumination. Who or what are we truly supporting with this data may be the real question…

      • ..
        May 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm


        • ..
          May 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm

          Interesting… some people can include binary-ascii in their posts, but other’s can’t. Fair, or one-sided moderating?

    • JB
      May 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      I see your point Mr. White, I just watched the video of the meeting posted online at
      I think concentrating on someone who has committed a crime in the past is always a good strategy because the chances of them offending again must be higher than the average Joe.
      I think what the analyst is trying to say is that the parolee crackdowns are not needed so frequently because they rarely yield violent crime arrests and they use up a lot of resources. In this case the analyst is employed by the city so he crunching these numbers to benefit the city. He seems honest and doesn’t seem to have an agenda except to benefit the city.

    • Gurn Blanston
      May 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      I know Darius White. Darius White is a friend of mine. And you, sir, are no Darius White.

      What about the 44% of the time that your 69% is reduced to less than 33% because of the 22% recidivism reduction due to the reductions in recidivism?

  3. otis criblecoblis
    May 10, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Fingering identifiable criminals (such as parolees), rather than searching for or being vigilant about culprits hiding in the shadows, would be too easy…a cop-out (sic).

    • may
      May 10, 2012 at 7:06 am

      Do you think maybe, since they are so fixed on certain groups that they overlook certain offenders?

  4. David Cox
    May 10, 2012 at 6:11 am

    Stinger says: “Will they. . . strengthen societal institutions that tend to influence would be offenders away from crime (like church programs, nonprofits. . . ?”

    Well yeah, that’s what I and others like me at Grace Chapel in Lancaster are working to do on a regular day in, day out basis. The partnership we have with the City of Lancaster via Neighborhood Impact bears good fruit. In fact, at the recently concluded Lancaster Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, Neighborhood Impact won recognition from the Mayor of Lancaster for its crime reduction capabilities via appropriate, constructive community interaction and relationship building.

    Anyone is welcome to volunteer. You don’t have to be an expert or anything. Just have a caring, willing heart to love others in the community. There are a number of these Neighborhood Impact houses (and Wellness Homes) all over the City of Lancaster, staffed by several different churches. The City of Lancaster can also help you connect with a house where you may volunteer at. . . they will refer you to one of the participating churches that volunteer in the Neighborhood Impact program.

    By the way, if you are looking for some good clean fun on Saturdays, please join me and other volunteers at the Antelope Valley High School gym from 9:00 AM to around 3:30 PM give or take. The Neighborhood Impact houses Grace Chapel serves play JV and Varsity basketball games, six in all. . . and each game lasts for about an hour. So come on in and see a game or two. . . attendance is free! (smile) Last games will be Saturday, June 2, and the Saturday before Memorial Day will be dark (no games played that day).

    • may
      May 10, 2012 at 6:47 am

      Thanks for that information Mr Cox. So refreshing to hear something relative on this site.

      • David Cox
        May 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm

        You’re quite welcome! Glad to put something clean and refreshing here on this site. My pleasure.

  5. may
    May 10, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Ummm,more like political ignorance! Just goes to show you can’t rely on info that’s printed in the local newspaper. I hope those political leaders constantly speaking out of the side of their necks, will get to the real issues and stop wasting resources.I hope that, the same energy put into hunting down targeted groups are put into those institutions you mentioned.

  6. NIMBY
    May 10, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Back to the “broken window” theory.

  7. J. Ripper
    May 10, 2012 at 5:33 am

    Who’s responsible for the other 22%? I’m trying to figure it out. Either you’re a first time offender, you’re on parole/probation, or you have a prior criminal record but aren’t on parole/probation.

    • Nicole Dawson
      May 10, 2012 at 10:29 am

      I actually got 101% when I tallied it all out. You are lumping parole/probation together, but the statistics are separate. Probationers are 22% of total arrests and paroles are 9%.
      I personally feel like parolees and probationers have paid their debt to society and are deemed fit by the professionals to integrate back into society with restrictions. Therefore they should not be targeted more than any other group for crime fighting, just like section 8 people should not be targeted.
      Many parolees are reformed and just looking for a second chance at life.

      • Nicole Dawson
        May 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm

        I hope my comment does not imply that I do not support the LASD and our city leaders, because I DO! I think they are doing a superb job and I give thanks to them any time I can. I think they will use these criminal statistics to redirect the resources in the most efficient manner possible. Kudos to the LASD and Lancaster city government!!!

      • J. Ripper
        May 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm

        Right you are. ‘Tis what I get for trying to do simple math before coffee.

  8. Stinger
    May 10, 2012 at 1:58 am

    Kudos to Mr. Kobolt for not bending to political influences and telling it like it is. The current leadership’s insistence on targeting the wrong group due to putting political ideology before actual reality has been bearing the predictably wrong fruit.

    Now… Will they listen to the experts over political ideology? Will they respond in an intelligent fashion? Will they utilize sound criminological principles and strengthen societal institutions that tend to influence would be offenders away from crime (like church programs, nonprofits, and other CBOs)? Or will they go the wrong direction and go overboard with political haymaking (as they frequently do) and violate the Constitution to futilely try to get at this threat?

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