Palm Desert saw more violent and property crimes in 2011 than in 2010, despite a national trend in the opposite direction, according a new FBI report.
The FBI’s annual report “Crime in the United States” was released Monday, revealing the crime numbers for the city of Palm Desert for the following categories: violent crime (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault) and property crime (burglary, larceny-theft, and car theft).
Nationally, an estimated 1,203,564 violent crimes occurred, which is a decrease of 3.8 percent from the 2010 estimate, according to the report. What’s more, the 2011 estimated violent crime total was 15.4 percent below the 2007 level and 15.5 percent below the 2002 level, the report states.
Locally, a total of 76 violent crimes were reported, as opposed to 48 the year before, data from the report indicated. Those crimes were broken down as follows:
- Murder—2 (0 in 2010)
- Forcible rape—2 (6 in 2010)
- Robbery—40 (30 in 2010)
- Aggravated assault—32 (12 in 2010)
The murders took place in April 2011, when a 24-year-old Palm Desert man and his 2-year-old daughter were gunned down. Before that, the city had not seen a murder since 2008, when two men opened fire in the Toys “R” Us on Fred Waring Drive.
As for the property crimes reported in this FBI log, there were an estimated 9,063,173 property crime offenses in the nation, it says.
“The 2-year trend showed that property crime decreased 0.5 percent in 2011 compared with the 2010 estimate,” the report states. “The 5-year trend, comparing 2011 data with that of 2007, showed an 8.3 percent drop in property crime.”
Property crimes in Palm Desert were broken down as:
- Burglary— 593 (638 in 2010)
- Larceny-theft— 1,439 (1,150 in 2010)
- Car theft—115 (123 in 2010)
Overall in the city of Palm Desert, larceny-theft seemed to be the biggest issue in 2011. Captain Kevin Vest, of the Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station, says that’s because of the high amount of tourists that come through town.
“People leaving items in unlocked vehicles or unattended…those are crimes of opportunity,” he told Palm Desert Patch, adding that the most common things taken are smartphones, iPads and credit cards.
Vest says the police department has been working to reduce these sorts of crimes by deploying extra resources during holidays and special events.
“It’s the other 360 days a year that are difficult [to prevent crime],” he told Patch. “Those are very difficult crimes to solve.”
Vest says the department has worked especially hard at reducing burglaries in town—one of the few areas in which crime went down in 2011, according to the FBI report.
Through deploying a “burglary suppression unit,” Vest says the city has been successful at investigating trends with these crimes and solving them more quickly than before.
“[Burglars will] only commit a handful verses 40…[otherwise] they’ll probably commit a hundred until they’re caught and stopped,” he said.
Palm Desert has a ratio of 1.7 police officers per 1,000 residents, according to Vest.