“One of the myths I continue to wrestle with is … we do not have adequate resources to respond to nuisance crimes or nonviolent crimes,” Hampton told the City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 19. “I still have a good part of the community believing that violent crime is something our community is plagued with, while statistically speaking that is simply not accurate.”
According to statistics that Hampton reported during the meeting, Part 1 crime in Tracy was down by 0.3 percent in 2012 from 2011.
Part 1 crimes include homicide, rape, arson, aggravated assault and a litany of property crimes, all tracked by the FBI.
Part 2 crimes, which include crimes such as identity theft, fraud and drug offenses, were not compiled for the chief’s report.
Most of the Part 1 crimes — 94 percent, according to statistics tracked by the department — were property crimes. Only 6 percent were violent crimes. There were 145 violent crimes in Tracy in 2012, compared with 138 in 2011, a rise of 5.1 percent.
Among Part 1 crimes, homicide had the biggest percentage spike, from none in 2011 to four in 2012.
Auto thefts increased from 203 to 287, and auto burglary climbed from 427 to 489.
Eight incidents of rape were reported in 2012, down from 12 in 2011.
Burglary dropped from 390 to 284 cases, and shoplifting decreased from 453 to 385.
Hampton said the fact that property crimes make up the vast majority of Tracy’s criminal activity requires an “aggressive approach” to confronting such crimes.
The tendency of violent acts to stick in the public mind, however, can be a challenge when the department tries to help residents understand why efforts such as traffic enforcement continue to be a priority, even when 29 more people were injured in traffic accidents than were victims of a violent crime.
“(Residents are) more susceptible to traffic collisions, yet the community doesn’t understand why traffic safety is a big deal,” he said.
Hampton said the false belief that the police don’t have the resources to adequately deal with crime creates a vicious cycle: Residents think the department is unable to address the city’s problems, so they don’t call police when a crime occurs, which means the department does not know there was a crime that needed a response.
Hampton said many Central Valley cities are experiencing an increase in crime and telling residents to expect fewer responses and decreased service. But he urges Tracy residents to expect more.
“We asked our community to report more actively what they believe to be suspicious activity that would require police response, while other communities are doing the opposite,” he said.
• Contact Jon Mendelson at 830-4231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.