LAFAYETTE -- The latest statistics from the police department contained good news for Lafayette, as crime fell in nearly every category from 2009 to 2010.

Police Chief Mike Hubbard presented the statistics in a report to the City Council on Monday.

Overall, calls for service were down 9 percent and arrests were down 8 percent, the report said.

"It's unknown at this point in time whether or not it's that people need police less and overall crimes are down or just people are not calling," Hubbard said. "My gut feeling is that really crimes are kind of down across the board."

Residential thefts were down 10 percent, from 106 to 95, and vehicle thefts were down 7.5 percent, from 226 to 209. Shoplifting fell 69 percent.

Stolen vehicles were up 35 percent, but the number of recovered vehicles also rose, keeping the rate of recovery at about one out of every two thefts.

DUI arrests dropped by 21.4 percent. Commercial theft, domestic violence and narcotics calls also decreased slightly.

There were three reported rapes in 2010, versus two in 2009, seven robberies and no homicides.

Good detective work made a big difference in reducing crimes of opportunity like vehicle and home burglaries, Hubbard said.

There were 25 home burglaries in March, he said, and 10 people were arrested in connection with those crimes soon after. In April, the number of home burglaries plummeted to two.


Advertisement

"It's safe to say we don't have 25 individual burglars coming into Lafayette victimizing our town," Hubbard said. "You have a few that are coming in and victimizing it multiple times, and so by catching those few people you can have a huge impact."

To that end, the police department staff has been reshuffled slightly to add a half-time detective position, he said.

The decline in crime may also mean residents are getting more serious about taking steps to protect themselves and their property, said Traci Reilly, chairwoman of the city's Crime Prevention Commission.

"You can have a ton of police and a ton of detectives, but if people aren't vigilant about locking things up and putting things away and calling the police, they can only do so much," she said.

Hubbard said he reviews crime statistics monthly to help him determine where to focus the department's efforts.

City Council members were pleased with the report and said it shows that, despite having one of the lowest levels of police staffing in the county, Lafayette is still a safe place to live.

"It's not a high crime area but also despite the limited resources, the police service does a fabulous job," said Councilman Brandt Andersson. "It's sort of obvious but it has to be noted that they really do remarkable stuff."

Contact Jonathan Morales at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/sosaysjonathan. Read the Lamorinda Sun blog at www.ibabuzz.com/lamorindasun.