The Coast News Group

Sheriff’s Department delivers midyear update; crime rate down

VISTA — Capt. Charles Cinnamo of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department for the Vista Station presented City Council a midyear update during its Aug. 21 meeting. Cinnamo made clear that the numbers were unofficial and were being used strictly for operational purposes.

Cinnamo said that SANDAG has not yet reported its official 2017 law enforcement midyear numbers and he expects it will publish its 2017 mid-year report in the upcoming weeks. 

“So, with that in mind, the numbers you will see tonight will be unofficial, and when you compare the report that actually comes out, there may be some slight discrepancies based on certain statistical calculations,” Cinnamo said.   

The first topic Cinnamo addressed was Vista’s crime index, and the data revealed good news.

“We have continued to have the crime rate decrease in the city,” he said. “We’re now at best as everybody can tell, a 30-year low sitting at about 18.7 for our crime rate — lower than most surrounding cities.”

Other North County city crime rates include Carlsbad at 19.7, Escondido at 20.6 and Oceanside at the highest with 27.6.

“We’ve been very successful in trying to keep the property crime down while at the same time mitigating some of the violent crime issues,” he said.

Cinnamo reported that more than half of the crimes are domestic violence related. Their department was looking at various ways in trying to mitigate this from occurring, he said.

Next up was a deputy workload breakdown of calls for service made from community members and by deputy self-initiated activity.   

Over the years, calls for service have fluctuated, Cinnamo said. However, an uptick in calls occurred during the first seven months of 2017.

“There’s not necessarily a particular or a specific reason why, but that’s where the trend is currently. The calls for service are increasing,” he said. “Right now, it’s about 400 calls for the first seven months.” 

When deputies have free time and are not responding to calls, they cruise around looking for suspicious activity. According to Cinnamo, deputies come across crimes in progress.

Those numbers decreased due to the uptick in calls for service made by the community.

“As calls for service go up, the amount of free time that deputies have for discretionary enforcement goes down,” he said. “We have a finite pool of deputies and a finite pool of time.”

On average, deputies get about three calls per day. Cinnamo said while that doesn’t sound like a large number, when it’s translated into an actual law enforcement service, it can take a substantial amount of time. One example raised was the increase in mental health calls.

“Mental health calls take deputies off the beat for a significant amount of time to get those folks in the mental health facilities and actually get them the treatment that they need,” Cinnamo said.