2014 Year in Review
You might have read recently that the City Council and the Ukiah Police Department (UPD) have completed annual budget hearings. During these hearings, we presented our annual report on police department performance and crime in the Ukiah area. This report is based on performance measurements we adopted as part of the ongoing implementation of our strategic plan.
Our performance measurements are organized into five major goal areas:
• Reducing Crime and the Fear of Crime
• Improving the Quality of Life in Our Neighborhoods
• Enhancing Community and Police Partnerships
• Developing Personnel
• Continued Accountability
In creating these measurements, we did our homework—including interviewing key leaders from the Ukiah community; utilizing experience gained from seven years of strategic planning; comparing crime in Ukiah to other communities in our region, as well as reviewing state and national crime trends; and re-examining our department’s annual statistical information.
If you’d like to know more about these performance measurements, you can find our entire report, Strategic Plan Review – 2014, online at www.ukiahpolice.com/about-us/statistical-information. There, you will also find our most recent report to the City Council: 2015 Annual Strategic Plan Update.
In measuring whether crime has increased or decreased, our most significant benchmark is the national Index Crimes Report, published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In this report, the FBI asks law enforcement agencies to report on the occurrence of serious felony crimes like murder, sexual assaults, robberies and assaults. It also includes serious property crimes like burglaries and significant thefts.
Between 2009 and 2011, UPD implemented new crime reduction strategies and was able to decrease these violent crimes. During those years we reduced overall felony crime by 22 percent and violent assaults–including violent gang assaults–by 45 percent.
But recent changes have increased the demand for UPD services. The passage of AB109 (State Prison Realignment), Proposition 47 (which lowered the penalties for drug usage and property crimes), and an increase in transients, drugs and gang-related behaviors in our community have led to a rise in criminal behavior.
In fact, today we respond to about 90 calls for police service each day. And Ukiah’s serious felony crime rate has been on the rise, increasing 23 percent from our low of 700 felony crimes in 2011 to 899 felony crimes in 2014. And, it’s important to remember that each one of these impersonal statistics represents a very personal experience; imagine being the victim of a crime. In the last three years, 199 more people were victims of serious felony crimes than in 2011.
While crime has continued to climb, the department has worked hard to make sure we solve as many of these crimes as possible. In 2014, UPD solved 83 percent of the felony crimes against people, compared with the state average of 45 percent. And UPD solved 53 percent of property crimes, compared to the state average of only 13 percent.
Along with rising crime rates, our department is also seeing a rise in traffic accidents in our community. Since 2011, traffic accidents have increased by 43 percent. Because of these increases, I’ve asked officers to spend some extra time on speed and traffic safety. Officers will focus enforcement activity in neighborhoods where residents commonly complain about speeders and in areas where student pedestrians commonly walk to school.
In addition to reducing crime, we remain committed to these priorities: 1. Continuing our partnerships in the community, 2. Developing our young officers, and 3. Remaining accountable for our actions and performance. In these areas, we have made significant advances.
UPD’s performance measurements are intended to help us address the complex issues facing our Ukiah community. We have organized a Work Plan for 2015-16 based upon these goal areas. If you’d like to learn more you can find our plan on our website under the About Us – Reports and Statistics tabs.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.