Crime Statistics Show Little Sign of Crime Wave in Davis

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landy_blackIn light of four high profile shootings in a two month period there were concerns growing in the community that these shootings were a reflection of a rise in crime that threatened the city of Davis.  Accordingly, the Vanguard acquired the last two years of uniform crime statistics, the same statistics that the city sends on a monthly basis to the Justice Department.

A cursory examination of these statistics however, show little evidence of an increase in the crime rate in Davis over the last two years.  And if anything the categories of burglary and larceny have trended down over that period, assault has remained stable if not a slightly downward trajectory, and motor theft has fluctuated but has at most remained stable if not also a slightly downward trajectory.

The shootings triggered a Vanguard article on October 4, which asked whether they were a sign of things to come or an aberration.  At this point, the answer seems to be an aberration.

Crime_Davis_Uniform_Chart

Crime_Davis_Uniform_Graph

Police Chief Landy Black suggested the nature of these shootings could not have been more random.  And that while the close proximity might cause a blip in the statistics, if we do not have any more shootings for a while, it would be well within the norm.

On August 8, someone shot into an occupied apartment on the 1100 block of J Street.  There were neither injuries nor arrests in that case.

On September 13, police responded to an individual shooting at another individual in the downtown area after a large fight had been broken up.  Again no injuries and no arrests.

Then on September 26, four adults were arrested at an apartment complex on Cantrill Drive.

Most recently, a Sheriff’s Deputy tried to serve eviction orders on a resident in an apartment complex on Hanover Drive.  The resident opened the door baring a knife, was shot and then threw the knife at the deputy after being shot.  She only suffered minor wounds.

Of the incidents, the most concerning according to the Chief might have been the fight in the downtown area which might have the potential to repeat itself if care is not taken.  Otherwise they are simply random events that are only coincidental in terms of time.

The crime statistics show little indication of even the slightest of upticks in crime rate.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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24 thoughts on “Crime Statistics Show Little Sign of Crime Wave in Davis”

  1. wdf

    What is larceny? How is it different from burglary? Whatever larceny is, it shows the most notable change (mostly decrease) over time.

    All of this looks like good news, more especially given the tougher economic situation of the times.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    Larceny: Illegal taking and carrying away of personal property belonging to another with the purpose of depriving the owner of its possession. The crime of larceny was developed to punish the taking of property in nonviolent face-to-face encounters, and to set it apart from Robbery. Robbery involved some measure of violence in connection with thef

    I think burglary involves trespassing onto property to steal property.

  3. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]there were concerns growing in the community that these shootings were a reflection of a rise in crime that threatened the city of Davis. [/quote] My take, reading the comments which followed your last column on this topic, was that those concerns about “a crime wave” were largely not the community’s concerns, they were the Vanguard’s. Most of the posters, save one racist agitator who called himself “color blind”, put these incidents in contexts.

    You recounted four unrelated incidents and made it appear that they had some kind of common thread. You declared, in what struck me at the time as a bit hyperbolic, “something is going on in Davis.” And then you pushed your readers to ask, “Are we seeing a changing demographic? Is it a bunch of isolated incidents that just happen to be occurring in less than two months? Is it a sign of things to come?”

    Mr. Color Blind then decided your article was an invitation to blame our nonexistant crime wave on racial minorities, perhaps because your question made him think this non-existant crime wave was the fault of people with darker skin than his: [quote]The people doing the crimes are “of color”… There was a crowd of at least 100 African Americans. … The bank robberies that have become commonplace in Davis- young black men from out of town. … Young black men knocking on doors selling fake newspaper subscriptions are usually just testing the door knob- and this has led to a huge spike in burglaries. Many of the violent assaults in Davis are coming from Asian gangs from the east bay.[/quote] Given what you are reporting today, your later conclusion about the non-existant crime wave — “the threat of increased crime in part due to the economic downturn and both the need for some to resort to extralegal means to survive, which has manifest itself in a possible increase in property crime in Davis. At the same time, there is a level of frustration about diminished prospects that may lend itself to more violent crimes — probably should be withdrawn. Ups and downs in the economy don’t change people’s basic morals. I do think poverty can make men desperate. However, it’s not an act of desperation to get in a fight at a party and retaliate with gunfire. That’s an act of idiocy, and idiots are very often gainfully employed.

  4. David M. Greenwald

    In part I was reacting to things off the Vanguard, including concerns mentioned by Stephen Souza at the previous council meeting.

    “Ups and downs in the economy don’t change people’s basic morals.”

    Well I’m not sure that’s an accurate statement. I wouldn’t ascribe morals here as the term is nebulous. What I would say is that crime rate tends to mirror economic conditions with a lag time interposed.

  5. THINK ABOUT IT!

    “The shootings triggered a Vanguard article on October 4, which asked whether they were a sign of things to come or an aberration. At this point, the answer seems to be an aberration.
    Police Chief Landy Black suggested the nature of these shootings could not have been more random. And that while the close proximity might cause a blip in the statistics, if we do not have any more shootings for a while, it would be well within the norm.”

    Thus there is no way to know if this is an aberration or a harbinger of things to come. I don’t know either. What I do know is there is a gang problem in Davis. The cop killer Topete lived in West Davis. Crack smokers use our streets to light up – I have seen them myself. There was a rash of laptop computer thefts on the UCD campus not long ago, and a rash of armed robberies in Davis as well. This small college town is a target rich environment for two reasons –
    1) People tend to think this is a safe town, and don’t take the proper precautions, like locking doors, staying indoors at night whenever possible, walk in groups, don’t attend parties where you don’t know the people there.
    2) Newspapers, blogs, and others tend to insist this is a perfectly safe town, which perpetuates number 1 – the notion that this is a safe town so it isn’t necessary to take precautions.

    Wake up and smell the coffee folks. Gang infested neighborhoods are right next door in Woodland, W Sac, Sac, Dixon, Vacaville, Fairfield. Gang members are hiding out in our town, like it or not. The more citizens who take the proper precautions, the less of an invitation we give to criminals to come here. THINK ABOUT IT!

  6. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]crime rate tends to mirror economic conditions with a lag time interposed.[/quote] The evidence I’ve looked at suggests the affect of recessions on crime is real, but small, David. A couple of months ago, Kristin Finklea of the Congressional Research Service published a wide ranging study of studies ([url]http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R40726_20090728.pdf[/url]) on this very topic called, “Economic Downturns and Crime.” From her summary: [quote]A number of studies have analyzed the link between the unemployment rate and crime rates (with a greater focus on property crime), some theorizing that in times of economic turmoil, people may turn to illicit rather than licit means of income. … studies that used longer time horizons tended to find no direct link between the unemployment rate and the property crime rate.[/quote] If you look at the graphs she posts on pages 6 and 7 of the report, it’s hard to see a big correlation between a recession and an increase in property crimes or violent crimes. It appears that in periods when the crime rate is rising generally, the crime rate will rise in a recession and rise in a booming economy; and when the general crime rate is falling, it will fall in a recession and fall in a recovery. There does not even appear to be a distinction between violent crimes and property crimes in this regard.

    This appears to be the mainstream conclusion: [quote]a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate is associated with about a one percent increase in property crime.[/quote]In other words, if your property crime index starts at 100 and unemployment rises by 4%, all else held equal the crime index would rise to 104. However, if crime has been trending downward, as it mostly has been since 1982, then it’s likely that the downward trend will erase the small uptick due to a recession.

  7. Don Gibson

    Anyone know why larceny spikes in April? I am going to guess the craziness that happens on picnic day may have something to do with it thats my college student hypothesis.

  8. at least there are less hostages

    remember the hostages? at the banks and then the co-op?

    crime associated with party fights and “gangs” rises due to proliferation of cell phones. it doesn’t take much to join the party these days. though, i’m still more afraid of an inexperienced police officer than anything else here in davis. they are so edgy when you talk to them! it is like they aren’t used to dealing with competent people.

  9. David M. Greenwald

    “What I do know is there is a gang problem in Davis. “

    Well, the fact that Topete only shows that there are people with gang affiliations who live in Davis. That is undoubtedly true. But I posed your question to the police chief for his opinion.

    Here were some of his thoughts?

    “Are there youth, prison, and criminal gang activities taking place in Davis. Without a doubt, yes. In my mind, that’s a problem. But certainly not on the scale of some of the other problems we face in Davis–Burglaries, Auto Thefts, Rapes, etc. Those crimes occur with alarming frequency and are more of a recurring theme and a greater threat to our neighborhoods than the very limited gang activity we see.”

    He also noted that there was no “established gang turf” that they can distinguish, which is

    “a characteristic of communities with well established and universally accepted “gang problems”. The gang problems we deal with are, by a very large majority, associated with gang members coming to Davis to socialize, occasionally caper, and then return to the communities they call home. We see what some refer to as “wanna-be’s” in the school system.”

    He concludes:

    “So, a problem? Yes. But not to a degree that warrants abnormal alarm. Just alertness and preparedness–both already in practice.”

  10. THINK ABOUT IT!

    DPD: Police Chief “concludes: “So, a problem? Yes. But not to a degree that warrants abnormal alarm. Just alertness and preparedness–both already in practice.””

    I rest my case! Yes there is a gang problem in Davis. Yes, citizens should take the proper precautions. Just one thing the police chief is absolutely wrong about – the police may be alert and prepared for the gang activity, altho the police officer that was killed by Topete certainly wasn’t prepared; but citizens are not locking apartment/house or car doors. Young people are walking the streets late at night, and going to parties where they don’t know who will be there. There was an article within the last two weeks of a young woman raped at a frat party while under the influence – what a surprise – NOT! It is citizens who are not taking the proper precautions, bc they are often being fed the line that this town is SAFE, SAFE, SAFE, THERE IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. It is just this kind of thinking that draws in the outsiders to commit crime in a target rich environment of naive citizens. Sometimes I think this town is stuck on stupid. Perhaps it is bc I come from a big city, and regularly take sensible precautions, and have always shaken my head in disbelief at the stupidity in this town in not taking proper precautions. How many seconds does it take to lock a door for crying out loud?

  11. David M. Greenwald

    Well I disagree, there is not an organized gang problem in Davis. There are a few people committing crimes and from the chief’s perspective that is a problem but not enough to warrant any kind of alarm which you seem to claiming there is. Topete was a bad guy but he was acting alone, not as a part of any gang activity. There are undoubtedly bad people here, but let’s not overreact. In fact, he also says that other crimes are more serious problems in Davis.

    You mention the woman raped at a frat party, she wasn’t raped by gang members, so I’m not sure what your point is other than Davis is not some sort of paradise, which I think everyone already knew.

    But let me ask you, do you agree with the chief that we do not need to do anything that we’re not already doing or do you think the problem as you call it requires us to take additional action, that’s really the bottom line?

  12. wdf

    “But let me ask you, do you agree with the chief that we do not need to do anything that we’re not already doing or do you think the problem as you call it requires us to take additional action, that’s really the bottom line?”

    And keep in mind, will additional action cost money? That’s a very important question at a time when the city may be making further cuts.

  13. wdf

    From today’s Enterprise, Jeff Hudson article:

    “In the wake of two gang-related incidents at Davis High School this year, two members of the Davis Police Department are reviving a community discussion about whether to move toward a closed campus.

    One of the incidents took place at the end of the school year in June and the other a few weeks ago, shortly after the new school year began, police said. Both involved gang members – non-DHS students – who came on campus.

    One unauthorized visitor was searching for a particular student and hoped to start a fight; the student sought safety in the school office, police said. The second gang member visited classrooms and socialized with DHS students before a fight that had been scheduled to occur off campus during lunch.”

    The article goes on to discuss the extent of gang activity in Davis. It’s consistent with what the police chief told David.

    This also opens up another angle to the discussion about what the appropriate involvement of the police in pursuing truancy.

  14. THINK ABOUT IT!

    “Well I disagree, there is not an organized gang problem in Davis. There are a few people committing crimes and from the chief’s perspective that is a problem but not enough to warrant any kind of alarm which you seem to claiming there is. Topete was a bad guy but he was acting alone, not as a part of any gang activity. There are undoubtedly bad people here, but let’s not overreact. In fact, he also says that other crimes are more serious problems in Davis.”

    Well apparently the gang problem we supposedly don’t have, according to you, has hit the DHS campus. Read today’s Davis Enterprise. Gang graffiti has reared its ugly head throughout town. Gang fight in June, and one a few weeks ago. Even more amusing to me is the fact that bc we have decided to go ahead with DHS Stadium renovations, we cannot possible expend funds to close the DHS campus. Want to revise your opinion about insisting there is no gang problem in and around Davis? So long as you take that tack, it results in people not taking the proper precautions and provides a target rich environment for criminals.

    “But let me ask you, do you agree with the chief that we do not need to do anything that we’re not already doing or do you think the problem as you call it requires us to take additional action, that’s really the bottom line?”

    I think both of you are being short sighted by insisting this town is safe, we don’t have a gang problem. That leads young girls to think it is OK to walk alone at night. It leads people into thinking there is no need to lock their doors. Instead the smarter approach is to say, hey folks, we have criminals that will come in from out of town, or who live among us. Lock your doors, keep your valuables protected, don’t walk alone late at night, don’t go to parties where you don’t know the people, girls should not go to frat parties and drink indiscriminately (I would argue they should not go to frat parties period), etc.

    What you are telling me is that Chief Landy Black said “we don’t have a gang problem in Davis” and “there is nothing else we can be doing about crime that we are not already doing”. I honestly don’t believe a police chief would say that. I have talked w Davis police officers, and I guarantee that is not what they have said to me over the years.

    wdf: “In the wake of two gang-related incidents at Davis High School this year, two members of the Davis Police Department are reviving a community discussion about whether to move toward a closed campus.
    One of the incidents took place at the end of the school year in June and the other a few weeks ago, shortly after the new school year began, police said. Both involved gang members – non-DHS students – who came on campus.
    One unauthorized visitor was searching for a particular student and hoped to start a fight; the student sought safety in the school office, police said. The second gang member visited classrooms and socialized with DHS students before a fight that had been scheduled to occur off campus during lunch.”
    The article goes on to discuss the extent of gang activity in Davis. It’s consistent with what the police chief told David.”

    It is consistent with “we have no gang activity in Davis”? You’ve got to be kidding? You really have got to be kidding?

  15. Rich Rifkin

    Maybe we could retard our “gang problem” in Davis if we followed [url=http://lexicondaily.blogspot.com/2009/10/fear-of-dna-by-privacy-advocates-is.html]the example of the police in Berkeley[/url?

  16. tansey thomas

    There is one known off campus activity that happens in Davis that is not reported for reasons unknown to me. It is the highschool “rumble.” It is arranged by the kids and staged off campus. There usually are no weapons involved and combatants agree to fight. The three big rumbles I have heard of, witnesses said there were police on the scene but the incidents never appeared on the police blotter or in the newspapers. The most famous rumble awhile back was the one at Albertsons at noon where students trashed the place throwing groceries, canned goods,etc. screaming and cursing and damaging the outside of the building. Some kids were allegedly taken into custody. I happened to know about it because a city staff person told me about it because her son called from DHS to tell her and reported that the school was in an uproar. I was stunned to see nothing in the papers. Rumbles apparently are not considered “gang” wars.

  17. wdf

    “It is consistent with “we have no gang activity in Davis”? You’ve got to be kidding? You really have got to be kidding?”

    “I think both of you are being short sighted by insisting this town is safe”

    The quote “we have no gang activity in Davis” is entirely your characterization of the police chief. I don’t see where anyone but you who placed those words in Chief Black’s mouth.

    Black acknowledged that there is gang activity in Davis (see above): “Are there youth, prison, and criminal gang activities taking place in Davis. Without a doubt, yes”

    But it doesn’t rise to the level of rampant gang infestation that you can find in other areas in the Sacramento area.

    Are you making the case that crime and gang activity in Davis is as bad as the worst places in Sacramento? Because if you are, then we will just have to disagree.

  18. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]Are you making the case that crime and gang activity in Davis is as bad as the worst places in Sacramento? [/quote] wdf, he sent me this scene ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJlRTCPU7YU&feature=PlayList&p=A49AC91D34421FC5&index=0&playnext=1[/url]) on F Street in Davis. He explained to me, “it’s just a matter of time before this Davis gang problem makes it over to my house on D Street!”

  19. THINK ABOUT IT!

    “Are you making the case that crime and gang activity in Davis is as bad as the worst places in Sacramento? Because if you are, then we will just have to disagree.”

    Don’t put words in my mouth! What I said was there are gang members who live in Davis, there are gangs surrounding Davis, who find this sleepy little town a target rich environment, and easy pickins’. It is easy pickins’ because too many people tout Davis as perfectly safe, when it should be made clear no town is safe these days, gangs are very much a fact of life, and so everyone needs to take proper precautions. Now I can’t make my position any clearer than that. And I believe to my very core than I am absolutely on target. And I believe the police would agree with me. The Davis police have complained for years about the lack or reporting of crime in the Davis Enterprise. Tansey Thomas has cited one instance of that. Stick your heads in the sand at EVERYONE’S PERIL.

    And FYI, Topete lived right behind my house. I have walked by young men, four to a car, smoking crack in cars in the evening, the smoke so thick you can hardly see them inside, parked close to my house (less than a block away). A teen gang operated out of a pizza parlor when my son was going to DHS. They carried out a gang related assault on him the day he graduated from high school. This same group beat a college student within an inch of his life. The perpetrators went to jail – because a Davis Police Officer cared enough to get involved. My son picked the perp out of a photo lineup. The leader of this gang lived with the Vice Principal – and this same leader wound up in jail numerous times. Minimizing crime, and pretending we don’t have senrious problems here, just invites trouble.

  20. wdf

    “Don’t put words in my mouth!”

    I simply asked you a question, is gang activity in Davis as bad as the worst places in the Sacramento area?

    I think you are exaggerating the difference of opinion between us.

  21. wdf

    “There was an article within the last two weeks of a young woman raped at a frat party while under the influence”

    Do you think sexual assaults are under-reported at UCD?

  22. THINK ABOUT IT!

    “Do you think sexual assaults are under-reported at UCD?”

    I assume for the Beeham debacle, sex assaults were overreported. What does that have to do with what I said? Over and over again the personna of this city is advertised as “safe”. Just look at the above posts, which insist there is not much of a gang problem, at the same time the high school is wrestling w the issue of closing the DHS campus bc of gang violence! As a matter of course, students should be cautioned – lock your doors, don’t go to frat parties and drink anything, don’t walk alone late at night. Why is that so hard for you to understand? Or do you just like to pick, pick, pick, just for the pure hell of it? Do you really believe in half of what you say?

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