MODESTO (CBS13) —New crime stats are out for the city of Modesto and they are encouraging. They show that serious crimes, including homicide, burglary and auto theft, are down about five percent overall from 2015 to 2016.
It may not be a huge number, but officials believe at the very least, it shows that some of the strategies deployed by the city and the police department are starting to produce results.
“We are fighting crime more effectively and more efficiently,” explained Heather Graves, with the Modesto Police Department.
And according to Modesto police, homicides dropped from 25 in 2015 to just 13 last year. There were also 600 fewer serious crimes like rape, robbery and assault in that same time. Home burglaries are down by almost half since 2015, down to 950.
Another big one is the drop in auto thefts, which is down 10 percent from 2015 to 2016.
“That’s a big improvement for us. Still, we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of busy areas. So, that’s something we continue to work on,” said Graves.
And some residents, like Dennis Sweet, who has lived in Modesto for 20 years, are starting to see the change.
“I was glad they got as many auto thieves as they did. Makes me think they are making progress,” said Sweet.
The police attributed some of their success to new tools, like their new Real Time Crime Center. So new – it’s not even fully staffed yet. It allows cops real-time access to a crime in progress.
“Maybe we have a suspect on the run, our video surveillance gives us the opportunity to narrow down where the suspect is,” explained Graves.
“We are hopeful this trend continues,” said Amy Vickery, who works for the city.
She says Modesto city officials have prioritized resources and staffing to help fight crime.That includes things like installing more cameras in public parks. But she says community engagement also plays a role. It builds trust and cooperation, which has lead to more effective policing.
“I think getting out into the community, meeting people where they are, really talking to them about their issues and challenges they have experienced, is an important part of that,” said Vickery.
While there may be a drop in major crimes, there has also been a five percent increase in small crimes like vandalism and petty thefts. And like with any city, the overall drop in major crimes is not equal across the board. Some neighborhoods are dealing with serious crimes.