Violent and serious crime in Santa Barbara is down this summer over last year this time, Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez said in his monthly report to the City Council, while the number of cops on the beat is up and response time remains below the department’s target of six minutes.
Last June, Sanchez reported there were 244 Type I crimes — violent or serious; this June there were 201. Last July, there were 35 aggravated assaults; this July, there were 25. Despite the spike in high profile stabbings, Sanchez reported that gang incidents likewise have dropped with only 21 and 22 gang-related incidents tabulated this June and July, respectively. Of those, a significant percent involved incidents categorized as “other” in police reports.
Sanchez highlighted the many Police Department programs to provide camping and recreational opportunities for kids whose families lie below the poverty level, or come from dysfunctional families. “When I hear young people say there’s nothing to do in Santa Barbara,” Sanchez said, “I find it very difficult to believe.” Councilmember Grant House asked Sanchez what he made of the fact that the number of juveniles with gang “terms and conditions” had dropped by 30 percent in the past year. He suggested that the family counseling services providing by the Community Action Coalition — as well as luck — might be largely responsible.
Of gang violence during last week’s Fiesta, Sanchez said there was “little to none.” He noted that members of an out-of-town motorcycle gang got into a brawl with “some older previous gang members,” but that police broke it up before much damage could be inflicted and no arrests were made.