Riverbank Police Services Chief Erin Kiely presented a report of the crime trends in the City of Riverbank for the first four months of the year, Jan. 1 through May 1, to members of the Riverbank City Council at a recent meeting.
According to figures outlined by the chief, there has been an increase in stolen vehicles, up from 22 year to date in 2014 to 28 so far this year in 2015. Residential burglary, meanwhile, has shown a drop, down to 24 from 29 at this time last year, while commercial burglary has declined dramatically, down to five from a high last year at this time of 15. Kiely said that drop could be due in part to the fact that Prop. 47 reclassified some of the cases to misdemeanor shoplifting as opposed to burglary.
Vehicle burglary, however, is on the rise, up to 40 in 2015 from 12 in 2014, while grand theft cases are also up, to 12 from eight. Petty thefts recorded in the city from January through the first of May rose to 113 in 2015 from the 100 recorded last year and mail theft cases were up to 16, from four.
Kiely noted some possible causes of property crime increases as:
• Proposition 47 (Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act)
• Prison Realignment (AB 109)
“Regardless of political, philosophical or theoretical opinion both Prop. 47 and AB 109 have resulted in the release of many individuals who were previously incarcerated for property crimes and drug use offenses,” Kiely noted in his report. He went on to say that Modesto is currently experiencing a similar trend (Riverbank and Modesto are in close proximity and share some of the same criminal element).
Kiely’s power point presentation to council members included information regarding the impacts of the two measures as seen as having the most impact on crime trends.
Prop. 47 (Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act)
• Enacted Nov. 4, 2014
• Redefined some nonviolent felony offenses as misdemeanors (possession of meth, cocaine, heroin, rohypnol, forgery under $950, possession of stolen property under $950 including vehicles and firearms, commercial burglary = misdemeanor shoplifting if during normal business hours, etc.)
•Resulted in sentence reductions, releases from custody
Stanislaus Prop. 47 Stats as of April 20, 2015
•1,049 released from local custody (77 still in custody on other cases that don’t fall under Prop. 47 criteria)
•291 came back into custody one or more times (118 had new felony cases, 201 had new misdemeanor cases, the remainder on warrants, parole holds, etc.)
•One element of Prop. 47 is that it requires money saved (by not incarcerating) to be spent on school truancy and dropout prevention, victim services, mental health and drug abuse treatment, and other programs designed to keep offenders out of prison and jail
•These programs have not yet been implemented, so presently the Prop. 47 criminals behavior tends to remain ‘status quo’ while out of custody
AB 109 (State Prison Realignment)
• Began Oct. 1, 2011
• Initiated in response to a federal court ruling to reduce the state prison population
• Shifted the responsibility of custody, treatment, and supervision of individuals convicted of specified, non-serious/non-violent offenses from the state to counties
Stanislaus AB 109 Statistics (Oct. 1, 2011 through June 30, 2014)
• 1616 inmates released to Stanislaus County under Post-Release Community Supervision
Actions that RPS (Riverbank Police Services) has been taking to counter the most recent crime trend:
• Networking and information sharing with our community (via Nextdoor.com, Riverbank Police Services Facebook Page, etc.)
• Recent Deployment of “Y” cars (in addition to regular patrol units, these are patrol cars with two deputies that do not focus on responding to calls for service, but instead focus on self-initiated activity, proactive enforcement)
Recent “Y” Car Activity/Statistics indicate six (10 hour) shifts were worked, each shift was staffed with two deputies.
Enforcement Activity Conducted
• 20 Traffic stops
• 17 bike stops
• 9 subject stops
Which resulted in …
• 14 arrests (7 felony/7 misdemeanor)
• 4 traffic citations
• 34 searches conducted
• 2 vehicles towed
• 4 firearms recovered
• 1 prohibited knife
• ½ pound methamphetamine seized
“Y” Car Highlight Cases
A traffic stop for minor vehicle code violation resulted in a half-pound of methamphetamine being recovered, over $10,000 in cash, stolen handgun, bullet proof vest and ammunition cache seized, three adults were arrested for sales of methamphetamine, Kiely noted in the power point.
Also, a victim near Stewart/McHenry interrupted the burglary of their home where several of their firearms were being stolen, this turned into a carjacking, the RPS “Y” car intercepted the suspect in the victim’s vehicle driving through Riverbank, pursued into Oakdale, the suspect leg bailed, swam across the river and fled into an Oakdale residential area. With a large multi-agency perimeter and search effort, the case resulted in a K9 apprehension and all property recovered.
Kiely also offered the following actions that residents can take to help protect themselves from becoming victims in several areas.
• Secure your vehicle in your garage when possible
• Lock your vehicle (breaking into a locked vehicle raises more suspicion and takes more time)
• Don’t leave your car running when unoccupied (avoid winter ‘warm up’ thefts)
• Use anti-theft devices (alarms, steering wheel locking device, kill switch, etc.)
• Utilize an auto security/safety service (that has the ability to track or kill ignition)
• Don’t leave your title/pink slip in the vehicle
• Install an alarm/camera system
• Install motion sensor perimeter lighting
• Don’t let shrubbery provide hiding places
• Get a dog (large or small it doesn’t matter as long as they will alert on a stranger)
• Lock windows, doors, side yard gates (including garage, outbuildings)
• Don’t let mail and newspapers accumulate or empty trash cans sit (have someone entrusted pick up, or delay service/delivery)
• Leave a radio or TV on loud enough to just barely be heard from outside (most residential burglaries occur during the daytime, to avoid confrontation, residential burglars typically don’t want to enter if they think someone might be home)
• Close your blinds/curtains (burglars will look through them to not only see what property you have but also to determine whether anyone is home)
• Maintain just a little skepticism (frequently burglars will knock on the front door to see if there’s a response from inside, if you do answer they will typically ask if you’ve seen their lost dog, ask if John Doe lives there, etc.; if you suspect they are casing a residence call 911
• Get a quality safe and bolt it to the floor (if you own firearms, please store them in the safe with other valuables when you are not home, many of the guns law enforcement officers encounters on the street are stolen in residential burglaries)
• Don’t hide valuables in the typical places that burglars ransack first (master bedroom, under the bed/mattress, living room, dining room, master bathroom, dresser drawers, night stands); instead consider hiding valuables in a broom closet, kitchen, attic, crawl space, etc.
• Log and store (but not on the computer the burglar will steal) serial numbers to firearms, computers, electronics, etc. so that they are identifiable to law enforcement in the event they are stolen
• If you suspect your home has been broken into, do not enter, call law enforcement and let them clear it, this is their job, most burglars just want to escape but can become dangerous when cornered
• Roll up windows and lock doors
• Store vehicle in garage whenever possible
• Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle whenever possible (particularly in plain view, store items in the trunk or in the locked glove box prior to arriving at your destination)
• Activate car alarm
• Park in well lit, busy, visible areas when possible
• Use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier
• Pick up your mail as soon as possible after delivery
• If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately
• If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business
• Don’t send cash in the mail
• Tell your Post Office when you’ll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return
• Consult with your local Postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes, including the availability of locked centralized or curbside mailboxes
• Report all mail theft to law enforcement and if you think your identifying information has been compromised place a fraud alert with credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, Trans Union)
Part 1 Crimes
• Part 1 Crimes (criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny/theft, stolen vehicles, arson) are part of uniformed crime reporting and are used to determine a city’s overall crime rate
“The ‘good news’ comparing 2014 to 2015 year to date,” Kiely summed up, “Riverbank’s Part 1 crimes are down, as is the case throughout most of the country.”