I am pleased to report some good news on crime in Rohnert Park. Overall, crime declined by 5 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. This decline continues a long-term trend of low crime rates despite increases in our population. This is consistent with national trends.
Serious crimes, classified as Part 1 Crimes, were down 8 percent. Violent crimes were up 2 percent. The largest increase of 38 percent was in forcible rapes as women become more comfortable reporting them, something that we’re seeing nationally. We were again fortunate to have no homicides. Non-violent serious crimes were down 10 percent, including 25 percent in motor vehicle thefts, 10 percent in larceny, and 2 percent in burglary.
We saw an overall 3 percent decline in less serious, Part 2 Crimes. We had six more cases of embezzlement for a total of 19 (a 46 percent increase from 13 in 2017). We saw substantial decreases in weapons violations (down 25 percent) and DUIs (down 15 percent). Vandalism decreased 7 percent. Stolen property and forgeries each increased 9 percent. For details on our crime statistics, please visit the public safety section of the city’s webpage, www.rpcity.org.
The amount of crime in a community is a reflection of many factors. While our dedicated public safety staff deserve much of the credit for our low rates, the city can’t do it alone. We value the partnership we have with our residents as the ‘eyes and ears’ for safety. We encourage you to take precautions with your homes and vehicles. Call 911 whenever you see questionable activity. We sometimes hear of residents who see something suspicious but don’t want to bother us – that’s what we’re here for. So please do not hesitate to call if you’re thinking about it.
In Rohnert Park, we pride ourselves on community-oriented policing. Our officers are visible in the community by visiting schools and businesses and attending many events. Last year we held community meetings focused on public safety. We held meetings with the businesses on the west side of Highway 101. We hosted neighborhood meetings to provide information and hear suggestions on how residents can keep our community safe. We will be hosting at least 10 similar events this year. I invite you to keep any eye out for upcoming announcements. Additionally, subscribing to Nixle, our texting service, will keep you informed on important public safety information. You can register at www.nixle.com.
Our public safety traffic enforcement team has been busy around town with several efforts to increase traffic safety. I’d like to highlight a couple recent successes. On March 6 the traffic unit conducted active enforcement throughout the city. The focus was to educate and enforce the violations that contribute to collisions involving pedestrians. Community Service Officers dressed in plain clothes and crossed the street at various crosswalks. The purpose was to ensure drivers are yielding to the pedestrians within the crosswalk. Officers stopped 25 drivers and cited 21 drivers. The main offense was failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
The second notable traffic enforcement success included all-hands-on-deck effort for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. We kicked off the celebratory weekend by conducting a DUI/DL checkpoint Fri. March 15. Our staff worked alongside Cotati and SSU police to screen 819 drivers for signs of DUI and license checks. The checkpoint resulted in two arrests for a DUI, and an additional five drivers were cited for driving without a license.
More traffic safety efforts are scheduled throughout the year and made possible by grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety OTS.