By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victorville) – Statistics from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department show that crime stats have continued to decline over the last two years. Officials attribute a lot of that success to the role that community involvement plays in keeping the City safe.
According to a report available on the Sheriff Department’s website, in 2010 (the most recent year that information is available) overall crime was down 9% in Victorville. For 2009, the report states that crime was down 7% overall.
“I’d say that community involvement plays a large role in our City staying safe,” said Karen Hunt, public information officer at the Victorville Police Station. “We have many neighborhood watch groups. Several of the criminals we catch are because neighbors call in suspicious activity while it’s going on and we’re able to stop a burglary in progress and often apprehend the suspects.”
Hunt explained that when they train the neighborhood watch groups they focus not only on reporting suspicious activity, but also reporting useful details, like what the suspects are wearing, what their car looked like, and what direction they were traveling. “When residents can relay all of that information, because of their training, that’s really helpful to us.”
The City of Victorville has also implemented some crime prevention measures to help deal with the myriad of rental properties within the city limits. Anyone who rents out a home now has to obtain a business license. “This way we don’t have absentee landlords,” explained Hunt. “So if there is a problem at the rental property we know how to get a hold of the landlord. Property managers also must be a part of the city’s crime free program.”
“So hopefully what we are instilling is that every neighborhood has a right to have a peaceful neighborhood, one that they can enjoy. All of those steps help make Victorville a really great place to live,” said Hunt.
For more information on Victorville’s Neighborhood Watch programs visit their website at www.victorvillepd.org.
To view the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Annual Report visit http://www.sbcounty.gov/sheriff/Documentation/annual_reports.asp.