Friday, October 9 , 2015, 7:03 pm | Fair 86º

Santa Barbara Police Chief Backtracks on Burglary Statistics

Impact of state prisoners on crime rates much less than he told City Council

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez backtracked this week on statements he made about the affect of state prisoners released locally on the city’s crime rate.
Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez backtracked this week on statements he made about the affect of state prisoners released locally on the city’s crime rate.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli |

One of Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez’s most significant statements at this week’s City Council meeting was untrue, Noozhawk has learned.

Sanchez said the early release of state prisoners through realignment has contributed to higher crime rates in the city, particularly with property crimes.

Specifically, he said that 50 percent of November’s burglary arrests involved people who would have still been in prison custody if not for realignment.

That number drew the attention not only of local residents, but other law-enforcement agencies in Santa Barbara County.

Santa Barbara police re-evaluated their data, and found that Sanchez misspoke, said Sgt. Riley Harwood, a department spokesman.

In truth, police data show an average of one in six burglary arrests — or 16.66 percent — that involve realignment suspects, Harwood said.

“We apologize for any confusion or misstatement of fact that this comment has caused,” he said.

In October, one residential burglary suspect, out of five total arrests, was involved with realignment.

“In November, we had one residential burglary arrest, and (the suspect) wasn’t AB 109, but was out on bail from County Jail,” Harwood said. “We had seven commercial burglary arrests — not including shoplifting — and one of those guys was AB 109.”

The source of the misstatement apparently came from an unrelated statistic. When police do compliance checks on realignment subjects’ homes, the searches result in arrests 50 percent of the time, according to Harwood.

The Police Department collaborates with the county Probation Department to do compliance checks for the state prisoners released back into the community through realignment.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Sanchez noted that December was a rough month for police, with 52 burglary crimes reported.

Police are shifting around resources to deal with the influx of property crimes.

The Criminal Impact Team — which looks at career criminals and crime trends — was boosted to four officers and a supervisor from two officers, and three officers were shifted to help Sgt. Dan McGrew in the property crimes unit.

Patrol and investigative units won’t be affected, but more proactive programs that deal with homeless people, traffic and community-oriented policing could be, Harwood said.

“One of the reasons why we have to devote our resources to things like the Criminal Impact Team is because other agencies like probation or parole, and I’m not faulting them, they just don’t have the ability to do these compliance checks all on their own,” Harwood said.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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» on 01.12.13 @ 11:44 AM

Wow. Did this guy frget he was speaking as Police Chief in a public televised hearing to the City Council- his bosses?! Wat else is he “misstating”??

» on 01.12.13 @ 01:53 PM

It is common for officials, who aren’t inclined toward empirical analysis, to retrospectively apply plausible narrative explanations to past events.  Here, the high burglary rate was attributed by this guy to the realignment releases, when the spike could have numerous other explanations (or no explanation: simply randomness. Public officials habitually deny the effects of randomness). Note that the narrative causation explanations they choose are almost invariably ones that happen to be self-serving, or self-exonerating.

» on 01.12.13 @ 02:12 PM

We should be much more concerned about the unsolved crimes than those that result in arrest.  Economic factors have always been a driver of crime statistics.  Could it be that the current economy could push smarter people into criminal activity, maybe people who are better at getting away with property crimes, and more likely to pick places where people are less careful to protect their property?

The same forces that reduce police funding also motivate criminal conduct.

» on 01.12.13 @ 04:12 PM

Not the first time nor will it be the last time with this person. 

Who would even begin to make these types of comments in front of an official Council Meeting, with video rolling, and having been under such intense review by both organizations and individuals?

It shows how (a) he knows he is politically protected by the Mayor and Council Majority, and (b) he knows groups like the Hispanic Chamber and other Mexican/Hispanic advocates will rollover to protect someone with brown skin and a Spanish last name.  Why else would he even begin to open his mouth without complete understanding of fact?

It started with his recruitment and a terrible precedent set by his unneeded house purchase mortgage.  This continues because the “bleeding hearts” lost all of their spinal calcium in favor of feel good politics dictating police actions and direction.

It is sad to know he has and continues to hire and set precedent that will take years to undo, if ever.

Still think because you “think” logical politics based on irrational concepts don’t have consequences?  Remember this at the next election when candidates talk about neighborhood protection and leave out long term economic and social outcomes.

» on 01.13.13 @ 01:48 AM

Really: We don’t have bleeding hearts in SB city government, we have Democrats who support labor unions. They’re politicians who acknowledge the fact that voters irrationally define oversight to minimize police misconduct as policy that will increase crime and endanger residents.
Illegal is the appropriate term for city hall’s mortgage on Sanchez’s house. Loans to city employees by city government are illegal other than to provide workforce housing, not justified in the case of a city employee who had lived locally for a decade prior to the loan and who received compensation that couldn’t be construed to restrict his choice of local housing.

» on 01.13.13 @ 01:48 PM

Once again, how do we get rid of this clown?

» on 01.13.13 @ 02:40 PM

Maybe if they spent less time trolling through parking structures to write tickets for missing license plates and expired license plate tags, they might have more time to investigate real crimes.  Basically the police force has become a taxation force, to try and offset budget shortfalls, and citizens are paying for it (literally).  This must end.  It is unfair for residents and is bad for tourism, the second most important business segment for our community behind education.  We simply cannot afford to have our police department focused on writing tickets rather than protecting us and solving crimes.

» on 01.13.13 @ 03:45 PM

It all starts with our failed welfare food stamp and section 8 hand outs, the state is loaded with low class losers who have never worked.

Thanks Democrats..Enjoy your base!!!

» on 01.14.13 @ 03:41 AM

Good luck with an AG investigation.

1) You have to file a complaint with enough information to get their attention.

2) If they deem it is in their interest to respond to you they will tell you to hire an attorney.

3) The State is soooooo cash poor and soooo unwilling to take on government agencies it will then tell you to have the attorney file the complaint and only then if there is “sufficient” ~proof~ they will then deputize your attorney to act as a AG representative.

4) Only if the evidence is then overwhelming will they then take on a prosecution.  In that event they will then do their best to allow “retirements,” resignations to enter private life, or “transfers” to other government agencies.

5) To qualify for payback or recovery of effort and expenses you will have to have a successful “court” order.

The point being the State is not interested in getting rid of bad apples, only in covering government *@$$*.

To be successful you will have to have approximately $45,000 to file, go to court, and force the AG office to take on the powers.  Think you will get them to go after the DA?  *LAUGH*

Anyone with a law degree is granted certain amount of immunity from investigation.  One only has to look at the Superior Court locally to see the political issues allowing clearly prejudiced sitting judges allowed to get away with junk.  e.g. A former DA consistently interfered with prosecution of his inlaws who have a criminal background.  To this day he continues to have influence in the City of SB and the DA’s office even though he has retired. 

If you get the money let me know.  I’ll help you organize a full suit and investigation.

» on 01.14.13 @ 10:22 AM

All this proves is that Cam is a moron incapable of basic math or keeping simple statistics in order…  How an idiot of this caliber remains in a 300k a year job as our PC is beyond me? But then again logic and pragmatism are not a part of SB’s political DNA nor is having a spine or any for site…

Fire this guy - he’s well beyond worn.

» on 01.14.13 @ 12:03 PM

“Maybe if they spent less time trolling through parking structures to write tickets for missing license plates and expired license plate tags, they might have more time to investigate real crimes.  Basically the police force has become a taxation force, to try and offset budget shortfalls, and citizens are paying for it (literally).”
How do you think they pay for all the “EXTRA” cost these gang bangers and other criminals cost our fair city?

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