According to a report delivered Tuesday, July 17, to the City Council by Patterson Police Services Chief Tori Hughes, the number of burglaries increased by more than 20 percent and auto thefts by more than 40 percent from the first six months of 2011 to the first six months of 2012.
Hughes attributed much of the rise to Assembly Bill 109, a measure approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011 that transferred responsibility for nonviolent criminals, such as those who committed property crimes, to local jails.
The plan was a response to a Supreme Court ruling that the prison system was overcrowded.
But many of those offenders have ended up on the street, Hughes said, because many local jails are overwhelmed. And Patterson, she added, isn’t immune.
“Property crimes have been hit extensively,” she said. “We see (burglars) out not long after they’re in jail.”
But Hughes told the council the rates had yet to exceed what the city experienced in 2010, the year she called the height of the recession.
Considering so-called Part 1 crime statistics for more serious crimes, Patterson tallied 446 crimes for the first six months of this year, a drop from 513 reported crimes for the same period in 2010. Part 1 crimes are crimes that must be reported to the FBI, including homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary and car theft.
In raw numbers, the first six months of 2012 saw 128 burglaries compared with 105 a year earlier. Seventy-four vehicles were stolen, up from 52.
“All cities in Stanislaus County are feeling the effects of (prison realignment),” Hughes said. “I can’t emphasize the prevention component enough. Put a Club on your car and get house alarms.”
Hughes said that while some cities had stopped answering home burglar alarms, Patterson police would still check on every call. She said alarms were a great deterrent to home invasions.
She also urged residents to be diligent about monitoring their own neighborhoods; if activity looks suspicious, she said, call the police. Hughes said the best contact for such reports is the police dispatch center, 552-2468.
Business park expansion
The City Council also sought opinions about a proposed expansion of the West Patterson Business Park, which would add huge tracts of land to the city. No one commented, however, and the item was continued to a special City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 23.
City planner Joel Andrews said the developers and city staff members were still ironing out the last details of the agreement.
The project would add 1,100 acres to West Patterson Business Park for business, commercial and light industrial use, increasing the city’s footprint by about 30 percent during a period of 30 years.
Garage sale regulations
The council unanimously passed an ordinance to regulate garage sales, 4-0. Offenses include having more than four garage sales in a year, not removing signs after a sale and operating outside the hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Violators would face a $100 fine for a first offense, a $200 fine for a second offense, a $500 fine for a third offense and $1,000 fines for all subsequent offenses.
• Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187, ext. 31, or firstname.lastname@example.org.