Hemet violent crime takes a nose dive

The Hemet Police Department today reported a 32 percent decrease in violent crimes and an overall 10 percent reduction in all crimes in the 3rd quarter since January 2017, according to recently released FBI statistics.

In a news release Nov.30 the Hemet Police Department said it welcomed the “good news” following several years of increased crime in the city due to the negative effect of the Great Recession and a series of state laws and reforms favoring criminals.”

“The great recession was devastating to our community,” said Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown. “We lost over 30 percent of our police force overnight and the state and country began releasing tens of thousands of violent criminals into our communities. This perfect storm hit us hard. But we’ve always known that with adequate resources, a solid plan and incredibly hard work, we would be able to turn it around.”

After Hemet voters passed Measure U, a one cent sales tax committed to public safety, the Hemet City Council authorized the police department to implement an aggressive anti-crime initiative. Chief Brown told the city in January the community could not wait for the new revenue to come. He asked for permission to start hiring new officers and deploying specialized units immediately.

The council approved and joined the chief, District Attorney Mike Hestrin and 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington in declaring a “War on Crime and Violence” in April. “While these early numbers are encouraging, we’re still fighting the effects of prison ‘reform’ and a severely undersized county jail system,” Brown said.

Hemet Police Department sworn officer staffing is up more than 26 percent since the city council approved the Immediate Action Plan in January, from 66 officers to 79. Additionally, the department has doubled the number of civilian Community Service Officers freeing up sworn officers for enforcement and prevention activities.

As a result, the news release says, felony arrests are up 40 percent over the same period last year.

“We predicted that would happen. In fact, we promised it would,” Brown said. “But it takes an entire community working together with a unified city council and an extremely committed police force to recover and restore a community. We are well on our way to accomplishing that goal.”

Brown and Deputy Police Chief Rob Webb who is slated to take over as police chief December 22 said, “We still have a long way to go but we will continue to work hard and use our resources to drive down crime and improve quality of life for everyone.”

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