Friday, December 2 , 2016, 1:17 pm | Fair 62º


Local News

Santa Barbara Police Chief Backtracks on Burglary Statistics

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

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.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >