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Carlsbad crime at lowest in 8 years

CARLSBAD — Despite last year’s economic woes, crime in Carlsbad fell by 15 percent; however, violent crimes were up, the police department reported.
Last year, Carlsbad recorded its lowest crime figure since 2001 with 2,195 crimes, down from 2,584 in 2008. Additionally, the city’s index crime rate came in at 21.0, the lowest it has been in more than 20 years.
The figures come from Carlsbad’s recently released annual crime report, which measures violent and property crimes listed under the FBI’s crime index, said Lynn Diamond, a spokeswoman for the police department.
The FBI’s crime index is a sampling of some the most severe and prevalent crimes, Diamond said. The index helps compare crime rates between cities under a uniform reporting system.
Crimes relating to property theft, including burglaries, vehicle break-ins and motor vehicle theft fell 29 percent from 2,358 in 2008 to 1,908 in 2009, according to the report. One of the most notable decreases was the drop in vehicle thefts, which fell by 29 percent in 2009 to 135 down from 189 in 2008. This decrease marks the lowest recorded number of stolen vehicles since 1983.
“The overall decrease in crime is good news for Carlsbad,” Police Chief Tom Zoll said in a statement. “Residents should feel very safe living in our community.
“Residents should continue to take precautions to reduce the chance of being a victim of crime. Working together, we can maintain the safe quality of life citizens of Carlsbad have enjoyed for many years.”
Meanwhile, there were 61 more violent crimes — murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — in 2009 than there were in 2008 when police recorded 287, the report stated. The majority of the increase was related to an increase of assaults, including domestic violence and battery, which rose from 150 in 2008 to 203 last year.
Further, Carlsbad recorded five murders in 2009 up from two the previous year.
“Following regional trends, Carlsbad’s crime has continued to decrease despite the difficult economic times,” Zoll said. “With an increase in domestic violence, we want to remind residents of the numerous resources in the community for families in crisis.”
Diamond said despite the decrease in overall crime, citizens still need to be vigilant about securing property in their cars, like cell phones and GPS systems, and locking their homes and garages.
“People will take advantage of citizens if given the opportunity,” she said.