On Wednesday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office released its 2019 statistics on crime in Santa Barbara County, which had downward trends since 2015 in most areas, especially violent crime. A small uptick in property crime, which increased by 2.8 percent compared to 2018, meant that the overall crime rate was 1.6 percent higher than last year. However, a closer look showed some encouraging signs: The county’s crime rate was 15 percent lower than the 10-year average, and violent crime had decreased by more than 6 percent since 2018, bringing the violent crime rate 28 percent lower than the 10-year average.
The study breaks crime down into two categories: Part I, which are more serious crimes that “involve force or a threat of force,” and Part II, which are “lesser criminal offenses.” Part I violent crime saw a 6.4 percent decrease, and the report states cases of rape fell by 50 percent. Part I property crimes overall increased by 1.6 percent, and Part II crimes saw a minor drop of 0.3 percent. Within that category, some crimes, such as disorderly conduct and fraud, had significant decreases, while others, such as liquor law violations and DUI, saw upticks compared to last year.
The study is a compilation of crime data for Goleta, Solvang, Buelton, Carpinteria, and unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County. Of all the areas, Carpinteria saw the sharpest drop, reporting a 48 percent decrease in violent crime and a 25 percent decrease in property crime. Goleta saw violent crime decrease by 25 percent, but property crime rose by 21 percent.
In Solvang, property crime rose 17 percent, violent crime rose 25 percent, although the Sheriff’s Office noted that, due to Solvang’s low numbers, the rise in violent crime was based on an increase of two additional crimes a year. Unincorporated areas saw violent crime and property crime increase by one percent, and Buellton saw no change in either property crime or violent crime.