In a recent Washington Post article on the recession's effect on crime, Police Chief Rick Braziel said after years of declining crime rates in Sacramento, "The trend line is starting to go back up." He cited service cuts imposed by government belt-tightening.
But his agency's crime statistics are less clear-cut, showing year-to-year decreases in most major crime categories. Rape, robbery, motor vehicle theft, larceny and burglary are all down through August compared with 2009, the data show.
Property crimes such as auto break-ins that residents are most likely to encounter are down about 3.4 percent.
Aggravated assaults are up about 5 percent. Murders are up 43 percent in Sacramento from last year, rising from 16 to 23 through August. But last year marked a near-historic low for murders in the city.
The increase in murders so far this year is almost identical to the decrease in murders the city saw from 2008 to 2009.
Update: Sacramento Police Department spokesman Norm Leong says that while many types of crime are still down for the year, shorter-term trends are indicating a shift. "What we show is a current loss of ground on violent crime and some increases in property crimes. It is true that we have still decreases in some crime categories but the numbers show we are losing some gains we have made."
-- Phillip Reese