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Aggravated Assaults an Exception to Lower Crime Rates in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara has seen its numbers drop for most types of violent crimes, while aggravated assault remains high for the year as well as crimes such as vehicle theft, according to information released Thursday by the Santa Barbara Police Department.

The overall numbers of major crimes reported — commonly referred to as Part 1 crimes — are down from the previous month and also down compared with year-to-date figures from 2012, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood.

He said there were 228 Part 1 crimes reported in June, compared with 272 the month before.

Year-to-date Part 1 crimes total 1,631, a decrease of 10 percent compared with 2012.

Minor — or Part 2 — crimes reported are down from the previous month and roughly even with year-to-date figures from 2012.

“In June 2013, there were 2,275 Part 2 crimes reported, compared to 2,444 in May 2013,” he said, and year-to-date numbers total 11,733, a 1 percent increase from last year.

The numbers come from the department’s patrol division as well as from investigative division supervisors tasked with reviewing crime reports, Harwood said.

The rate of most violent crimes is down, particularly instances of rape. Aggravated assault remains an exception, and those cases have been down in recent months but are still slightly up for the year.

“One of the documented robberies was an instance of auto burglary that turned violent after the victim confronted the perpetrator,” he said.

There were 27 violent crimes reported in June, a decrease of 29 percent compared with June 2012. So far this year, 195 violent crimes have been reported, a decrease of 7 percent compared with 2012.

The overall number of gang incidents is up from the previous month, with 21 for June compared with 15 for May, and included an attempt murder and an attempt robbery, Harwood said.

The number of property crimes continues to decrease, but cases of vehicle theft are still up in comparison with year-to-date figures from 2012.

“Detectives report that many cases involve cars with keys left inside or the engine left running,” Harwood said.

A number of other cases involve victims and suspects who are acquaintances, and smartphone devices continue to be popular items to steal, according to Harwood.

So far this year, 1,436 property crimes have been reported, a decrease of 10 percent compared with 2012.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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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