Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

The number of crimes in Santa Barbara County was lower in 2022 compared to the past two years, according to the recent crime statistics released by the Sheriff’s Office last week. Major crime is down 12 percent compared to the previous year, while lesser criminal offenses dropped by 10 percent overall.

“The Sheriff’s Office is pleased to see these overall decreases in the number of reported crimes throughout our county,” said Sheriff Bill Brown, who was reelected to his fifth term last year. “This is a trend that we welcome and believe is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement and custody professionals, as well as our partnerships with the people we serve and protect. There is still work to be done to ensure that Santa Barbara County remains a safe place to live and work, but we are encouraged by the progress that has been made.”

In the report, which is available in full online on the Sheriff’s Office website, the number of crimes are broken down by category and compared to the county’s statistics from the past five years.

Overall, the Sheriff’s Office wrote a total of 16,099 reports in 2022 in all jurisdictions. 

Of these reports, 2,261 are considered “Part One” crimes, which include violent offenses like rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and homicide, along with property crimes like burglary, theft, and arson.

Theft is the most common of these more serious crimes, with 1,758 reports in 2022, followed by burglary with 403 reports and aggravated assault with 257. The most significant decreases in violent crime, according to the statistics, were in homicide (33 percent decrease to four total), rape (down 16 percent with 37 total) and robbery (down to 45 reports from 55 in 2021).

According to the statistics, arson cases experienced the highest jump of any crime in Santa Barbara County, with a 157 percent increase from seven cases in 2021 to 18 cases in 2022. Most of these cases, the report said, were from city or county fire departments “responding to illegal fires within the Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction.”

In “Part Two” crimes, which include crimes such as simple assault, forgery, vandalism, or liquor- and weapons-related offenses, the county experienced a 10 percent decrease overall.

Of these crimes — which also include juvenile offenses — simple assaults represent the highest number of reports written, with 1,192 cases in 2022 compared to 1,062 the year before. There were also 1,078 drug-related cases, though the report shows that to be a 14 percent decrease from previous years.

The largest drop in these offenses occurred in “liquor law” crimes, which dropped by 55 percent to 487 cases compared to the 1,095 reported in 2021. 

Forgery and counterfeit continues to show an increase, with 274 cases in 2022, along with another 169 reports of fraud. 

The Sheriff’s Office also included a detailed breakdown of each of the specific areas it covers, including the unincorporated areas of the county, Isla Vista, and the cities of Buellton, Carpinteria, Goleta, and Solvang.

In the unincorporated areas, there was an 8 percent increase in overall crime with 19 additional reports and a 10 percent decrease in property crime; in Buellton, crime decreased 35 percent overall and 40 percent in property crime; Carpinteria saw a 20 percent overall decrease by a jump in violent crime by 41 percent with nine more than in 2021; Solvang showed an 11 percent overall decrease and Goleta saw a 16 percent overall decrease.

For more details, visit the Sheriff’s Office website.


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