The City of San Luis Obispo saw an “unprecedented” increase in crime in 2018, according to San Luis Obispo Police (SLOPD) Chief Deanna Cantrell.
The city reported a 14 percent increase in violent crime, with spikes in rape, robbery and burglary from 2017 to 2018. There was a 2 percent increase in crime overall, according to SLOPD. Nearly half of the reported burglaries were in neighborhoods near Cal Poly.
The number of reported sexual assaults increased by 41 percent from 2017. In 2018 there were 52 reported rapes, compared to the 37 reported in 2017.
“We know that up to 90 percent of sexual assaults that are committed on college campuses or in cities where college campuses exist go unreported,” Cantrell said. “We are in a partnership with Cal Poly SAFER, Cal Poly PD and RISE and it’s about trauma enforced responses to sexual assaults.”
Robberies in San Luis Obispo had an increase of 45 percent in 2018, with 10 more reported robberies in 2018. Sixteen of the 32 reported were shoplifts that turned into robberies, theft with force.
SLOPD also found a significant increase in the number of residential burglaries, increasing by 56 percent from 2017 to 2018. In 2018, 235 burglaries were reported. Seventy seven percent of the reported residential burglaries were committed with no force entries being made, a 20 percent increase from 2017. Of these burglaries, 43 percent occurred in neighborhoods surrounding Cal Poly’s campus.
Despite increases in violent crime, traffic incidents and noise violations have decreased.
Vehicle collisions, citations decrease
In 2018, vehicle collisions overall decreased by 1 percent, with a 24 percent decrease in pedestrian involved collisions, but an increase of 21 percent in bicycle involved collisions. Last year, there were 522 reported collisions, 33 involving pedestrians and 48 involving bikes.
Traffic citations in 2018 have decreased by 16 percent with 5,015 reported in 2018, but warnings have increased by 6 percent with 5223 reported. Last year, 9,944 traffic stops were made, compared to 8,671 in 2017.
Driving under the influence (DUI) arrests have decreased by 10 percent from 2017, with only 329 made in 2018. DUI’s will continue to be a priority, especially with the recent legalization of cannabis, according to SLOPD.
Party related violations
In 2018, party related noise complaints have decreased by 3 percent, marking the second year in a row that SLOPD has seen an all-time low in party related noise complaints since 1998. In 2018, there were 1439 reports of noise complaints.
In 2018, 115 party registration applications were received and 88 were approved. Of those approved, only nine phone warnings were made and one single citation issued to an event failed to eliminate noise after the warning phone call.
The Investigations Bureau reported an 8 percent decrease in number of cases for 2018. SLOPD attributed this decrease to the reassignment of the Special Enforcement Team and a notable homicide investigation, a murder for hire, and an extensive robbery investigation in 2018, which required a tremendous amount of work.
At a city council meeting on Tuesday, May 7, Cantrell said SLOPD has five goals they hope to work towards with the community in an effort to reduce harm. She said they hope to reduce crime and the fear of crime, increase multimodal safety, increase personal resilience, strengthen regional partnerships and prioritize community engagement.