Ramona crime rate spikes in 2012, report shows
By Karen Brainard
The 2012 crime statistics report released last week by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) showed Ramona had an increase in crime, but according to the sheriff’s station, the numbers have already decreased for 2013.
“Our burglary rates are dramatically diminished,” Lt. James Bovet of the Ramona sheriff’s station said about residential and commercial burglaries for the first quarter of 2013.
Bovet said he couldn’t release any official figures but other areas of crime that have dropped this year are homicide, rape, robbery, assault, thefts from vehicle, larceny theft, and sex crimes.
On the rise are drug crimes, driving under the influence (DUI) arrests, and vehicle thefts, he said.
The SANDAG report showed a 26 percent increase in property crimes in Ramona in 2012 over the previous year, with 590 cases reported in 2012 compared to 467 in 2011. Bovet attributes much of the property crime to drug users who steal to support their habit.
“Ramona’s biggest problem is drug addiction,” he said.
By focusing on heroin users, Bovet said the sheriff’s department was able to break up several burglary rings.
The number of residential and non-residential burglaries jumped from 135 in 2011 to 216 in 2012.
Bovet noted that the Ramona station solved a series of hot prowl burglaries last year and many commercial burglaries, and uncovered property that was never reported stolen.
The lieutenant also said his department has focused on criminal offenders on probation by repeatedly conducting probation searches, and “eight times out of 10” finds new crimes.
The SANDAG report showed violent crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, going up 38 percent in Ramona, with 109 cases reported in 2012 versus 79 in 2011. Bovet said two-thirds of the cases are usually between people who know each other.
“It’s not random violent crime,” he said, adding that there has been an occasional battery at a bar or strong arm robbery.
Last year also saw three homicides in Ramona compared to none in 2011, and one each in 2010 and 2009. Robberies were down slightly with 19 reported last year, two less than the previous year. Six rape cases were reported, the same number as in 2011, down from nine cases recorded in 2010 and in 2009.
Motor vehicle thefts have averaged about 52 per year over the past five years with the exception of 2010, when 81 were reported.
Looking at the crime rate by population, Bovet said Ramona still looks good. There were 16.37 property crimes per 1,000 people compared to several cities in the county that had over 20 property crimes per 1,000. Violent crimes accounted for 3.02 per 1,000, which was less than in Lakeside, Spring Valley, and Valley Center.
“Ramona is still a very safe place to live. Just had a spike last year,” said Bovet.
For the San Diego region, the SANDAG report showed that last year violent crime increased for the first time since 2001, and property crime rose for the first time since 2003, but the numbers are still among the lowest in the past 30 years.
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