The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office released its 2020 crime statistics Thursday, which showed that serious offenses were up 18% compared to the year prior.
Overall, Part 1 violent crime was up 7%, and Part 1 property crimes were up 20%, compared to 2019 for areas policed by the Sheriff’s Office, which includes unincorporated areas of the county and the cities of Buellton, Solvang, Goleta and Carpinteria.
The increase in serious crimes was 3% higher than the preceding 10-year average. The 2020 violent crimes were down 9% compared to the preceding 10-year average, while property crimes were up 5% over the 10-year average, according to the data.
The Sheriff’s Office compiles information about crimes and submits it for inclusion within the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports system. Reports are broken down into two major categories: Part 1 crimes, which are the most serious in nature, and Part 2 crimes, which includes a number of lesser criminal offenses and juvenile status offenses.
Part 1 crimes are further broken down into two subcategories: violent crimes and property crimes. These types of crimes involve force or a threat of force and include criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Part 1 property crimes are theft-related offenses that do not involve threats or force against the victim, and include burglary, larceny theft and motor vehicle theft.
According to the data released Thursday, the most significant Part 1 violent crimes were experienced in rape (up 71% compared to 2019) and robbery (up 32% compared to 2019).
Of the Part 1 property crimes, notable increases were noted in motor vehicle theft (up 73% compared to 2019), theft (up 27%) and arson (up 138%).
Speaking with the News-Press Thursday, Sheriff Bill Brown noted that some of the crime rates saw a notable increase, though some are based on “very few actual increases in particular crimes.”
For example, there were 19 reports of arson in 2020, compared to just eight in 2019.
In breaking down the lesser crimes, known as Part 2 crimes, overall they were down 15% in 2020 compared to the year prior.
With the exception of DUI violations (up 17%) and disorderly conduct (up 28%), almost all Part 2 crimes were down or remained statistically similar to the prior year, according to the data.
Some of the notable Part 2 declines included: simple assault (down 18%); public drunkenness (down 32%); sex offenses (down 28%) and other violations (down 25%).
Broken down by jurisdictions, unincorporated areas experienced an 18% increase in overall crime, which includes a 4% increase in violent crime and 21% increase in property crime. The Buellton area saw a 53% increase in overall crime, including a 350% increase in property crime (seven additional crimes) and a 43% increase in property crime.
In Carpinteira, a 65% overall crime increase was reported. This included a 91% increase in violent crime (10 additional crimes), and a 43% increase in property crime.
Crime was up 11% in Goleta, including a 33% increase in violent crime and a 9% increase in property crime.
In Solvang, crime was down 10% overall, with a 36% decrease in violent crime and a 7% decrease in property crime.
For more on the 2020 crime statistics, see Sunday’s News-Press.