By Karen Brainard
A report released by SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) reveals that, while crime has continued to decline in the San Diego region, most types of reported crime have increased in Ramona.
FBI index crimes went up 12 percent in Ramona with 564 reported incidents in 2010.
The FBI crime index includes homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.
By population, the FBI crime index showed in Ramona there were 14.18 crimes per 1,000 people in 2009 and 15.74 per 1,000 in 2010.
However, Lt. Julie Sutton, with the sheriff’s station in Ramona, said the community’s numbers may not truly compare with other jurisdictions.
“Some of the reports aredocument only,” said Sutton, explaining that Ramona’s deputies tend to take a lot of “paper” when other stations may not. In some cases, the person reporting does not want to prosecute, she said.
Ramona had 103 violent crimes reported last year, as compared to 90 in 2009 and 81 in 2006, the report showed.
On the positive side, Sutton pointed out that the violent crime clearance rate, meaning perhaps an arrest was made or the case was closed, increased by 20 percent in 2010.
According to the report, property crimes in Ramona went up by 12 percent during 2009-10. The dollar value of property stolen jumped from $755,000 in 2009 to $1.5 million in 2010, with about a third of that amount recovered.
Ramona’s recovery rate represented a 19 percent increase, unlike a number of jurisdictions that had a decrease in property recovery rates.
Sutton said most crimes in Ramona are committed by one or two people, such as in a series of vehicle burglaries. The deputies were on the case and caught the suspects in the act, she said. Ramona also had a series of property crimes and a suspect was taken into custody, added Sutton.
“I think the economy plays a part of it,” Sutton said of the crime rate. “I think we’ll see those numbers go down.”
“I’m very proud of our deputies in Ramona. Our deputies are doing what they are supposed to be doing and go above and beyond,” said Sutton, attributing such diligence to the fact that many of the deputies live in Ramona.
In another report released last week, the county announced that methamphetamine use in the county was declining.
Sutton said her reaction was, “If meth use is down, then what’s up, because you don’t just stop.”
According to Sutton, heroin use is up in the Ramona area, noting that heroin is highly addictive and cheaper to buy.
Crime could go down due to such a change in drug habits, she said, because, unlike meth addicts, heroin users do not tend to stay up through the night, when burglaries and vandalism often occur.
Other jurisdictions showing increases in crime included Alpine, Spring Valley, La Mesa, San Marcos and Solana Beach.
Although, overall, robberies in the region, like most of the crimes, declined during 2010 by 17 percent, the SANDAG report noted that bank robberies jumped by 73 percent, from 92 in 2009 to 159 last year.