The goal of the Rohnert Park Department of Safety is for Rohnert Park to be the safest city along Highway 101. The good news is that crime in Rohnert Park remains at low levels compared to long-term rates. Overall, crime increased 2 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. While we are never pleased with an increase, this one is similar to the increase in our population.
The not so good news is that we saw a 13 percent increase in the most serious crimes, including auto theft (up 28 percent), larceny (theft) and aggravated assault (both up 15 percent). Robberies were up 5 percent, while burglaries were down 6 percent. There was no change in the number of rapes and once again we were fortunate to have no homicides.
We also track crime rates on less serious crimes, which overall were down 4 percent in 2017. This includes substantial reductions in embezzlement (down 19 percent), possession of drugs and related equipment (down 16 percent) and driving under the influence (down 12 percent). We saw modest decreases in fraud (down 8 percent) and increases in vandalism (26 percent), weapons violations (22 percent), possession of stolen property (8 percent) and forgery/counterfeiting (6 percent).
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. It is tremendously helpful for residents to help keep our community safe by reporting suspicious behavior, sharing video from home or business systems and taking care of our cars and homes by keeping doors and windows locked.
In Rohnert Park, we pride ourselves on community-oriented policing, where our officers are visible in the community by visiting schools, businesses and attending many events. Last year we held six community meetings focused on public safety, including two meeting with the businesses on the west side of Highway 101 and hosting four neighborhood meetings to provide information and suggestions on how residents can keep our community safe. We will be hosting similar events this year and I invite you to keep an 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.
The city is also aggressively recruiting new Public Safety Officers. We put six new officers in our community last year, have seven in training, and expect to hire 13 in the coming months. Several of our newer officers grew up in or near Rohnert Park and it is particularly gratifying to have them serve our community – an excellent example of community-oriented policing!
For residents who would like an in-depth look at Public Safety, I invite you to apply to participate in our upcoming Civilian Academy. It will run for 10 weeks Monday evenings, starting March 19. Applications are due by March 12 and are available on the city’s website.