City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

September 23, 2011
Crime in Sacramento continues to drop, despite budget cuts

Mirroring a trend seen in most other big cities across California, crime in Sacramento is down by 18 percent since 2007 - despite four straight years of public safety cutbacks.

Police Chief Rick Braziel told the City Council this week the drop in total serious crime was the third largest in the state over that time period, behind only San Diego and Oakland. And year to date, crime is down in the city 12.5 percent over last year, Braziel said.

But with the department just three months removed from laying off 42 cops, Braziel and others are skeptical those trends will continue.

In an interview Thursday evening, Braziel told me "our goal is to keep driving the numbers down, but no matter what we do, the ability to drive the numbers down is less than it was before (the layoffs)."

"But the budget is the budget and we can't blame it," he said. "The community didn't create the financial crisis, so there is no one to blame. We have to adapt."

The City Council in June voted to lay off 42 officers - an unprecedented move in Sacramento - to help fill its budget deficit. Many council members have indicated they wanted police personnel to begin contributing to their pensions to avoid cuts, but so far, no progress has been made in those talks.

It's too early to tell if those layoffs will affect crime in the city, Braziel said. He plans to give an update on crime figures in the coming months.

BrazielAndMayor.jpg
Police Chief Rick Braziel and Mayor Kevin Johnson at a press conference last year. Bee staff photo by Andy Alfaro

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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