PALMDALE – The crime statistics for the city of Palmdale show the crime rate to be at its lowest in the past 20 years, Sheriff’s officials recently announced. [View the LASD 2014 crime statistics here.]
The reason for the decreased number of criminal incidents goes beyond the policing of local communities; it reflects how the community has increased its relationship with law enforcement, according to city and Palmdale Sheriff’s Station officials,
“Together the citizens of Palmdale, city officials, hardworking proactive deputies and specialized teams have all played a tremendous role in the reduction of crime,” Deputy Jodi Wolfe stated in a community announcement. “Although it was a slow and steady process many individuals played a huge part in making this a reality.”
According to the 2014 crime statistics, the rate of crime was at 262.47 offenses per 10,000 residents. While in 1995, crime statistics show the rate of crime was 488.30 offenses per 10,000 residents, Palmdale Sheriff’s officials reported. More specifically, the violent crime rate has decreased 45 percent over the past 20 years, while the property crime rate declined 43 percent.
Captain Don P. Ford of the Palmdale Sheriff Station said these crime rates may inform us on how many incidents have occurred, but there’s no easy way to measure the number of crimes that have been prevented in the community.
“For every time somebody does something to prevent a crime, we don’t have any numbers on those,” Capt. Ford told The AV Times.
He explained that crime prevention is the real driving force behind keeping crime rates down, and to achieve this, local law enforcement really depends on its partnership with the community.
“We’re getting great information from citizens through Crime Stoppers,” he said, “We’re getting them to call in those suspicious persons, and they’re getting rapid response from us.”
Capt. Ford pointed out that the Palmdale Sheriff Station covers about 770 square miles with nearly 200 deputies.
“But there’s 200,000 people that live in that same area that could give us a lot of eyes in their communities,” he said. “And when we all work together as partners in the community, that is what helps keep the crime rate down. The city of Palmdale, their Neighborhood Watch program and their crime prevention officers— it’s all of these pieces that work together.”
Palmdale Crime Prevention Officer Kery German, who helps coordinate more than 400 Neighborhood and Business Watch groups throughout the city, said her job is to help people take responsibility for their neighborhoods.
“We offer residents information on how to keep their neighborhoods as safe as possible, and how they can be a good witness for the Sheriff’s department,” German said. “We give them tips on home security, vehicle security, personal safety, how to report crime and suspicious activity, and being involved in making their neighborhood as safe as possible.”
She said that although many groups take pride in their Neighborhood Watch programs, many groups have been started in response to a crime that had taken place in the neighborhood.
“We would like that to change,” German said. “We would like them to be proactive and contact us – stop it before it starts.”
German said the city’s Business Watch program takes a similar proactive stance against crime, protecting small businesses from potential break-ins. She said the Business Watch program caters to the mom and pop businesses that do not have the support of a large loss prevention team as the bigger retailers have.
According to Deputy Wolfe, these programs not only educate individuals on crime prevention but they offer citizens a better understanding of law enforcement and how the department operates.
The Palmdale Sheriff Station also reaches out to local residents with various programs to assist with community building and crime prevention, such as a Community Academy, ride-a-longs, station tours, Explorer program, Youth Activities League, Volunteers on Patrol, Vital Intervention and Directional Alternatives, and Coffee with a Cop.
“All these things work together to build a stronger, safer community and bring crime down,” Palmdale Communications Manager John Mlynar told The AV Times.
Mlynar said he recalls when the city in 2008 was hoping to get to a lower number of crime incidents. At the time, Palmdale was at 324.7 offenses per 10,000 residents.
“We really thought we would get below 300 crimes per 10,000. Basically if your city is doing 300, that’s considered safe – a reasonable amount to have,” he said. “We would love to be zero, but the reality is no city is at zero. But that’s what you work towards.”
Palmdale Sheriff Station officials are asking residents to contact the Sheriff’s department at 661-272-2400 to report any crimes in their neighborhood. Citizens may also call LA Crime Stoppers, a non-profit organization that allows callers to remain anonymous, at 800-222-TIPS (8477).