SEASIDE - Criminals beware.
The Seaside Police Department is looking for you.
At the end of last year Chief Bob Gross was happy to report that crime had taken a downward turn in Seaside, with Part I offenses falling 24 percent and Part II offenses dropping 9 percent. Part I offenses are the more serious crimes - burglary, assault, sexual assault - and Part II offenses include vandalism, embezzlement and fraud.
"I was very pleased to see a decrease of 24 percent in Part I crimes," said Gross. "I think much of that is officers working hard to solve and reduce crimes; that being a visible part of the community and talking to the community helps to reduce criminal activity."
During the first part of this year crime continued to decline but, with the quarterly numbers in, it appears that Part I crimes are on the rise. According to Gross there have been two "significant" assaults involving knives - one in January and one in March - and rapes are on the rise.
"Sexual assaults are on the rise, not just here, but everywhere," said Gross. To date, in Seaside there have been five rapes reported and all five have been cleared.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network's Web site, there were 200,780 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault in the 2004-05 year.
Other Part I offenses that were declining in 2006 have continued to trend downward, including burglaries. Last year burglaries were down 25 percent and they are down another 19 percent during the first part of this year.
Gross gives praise to the residents of Seaside for the decline in burglaries.
"It's residents making sure their houses are secure," said Gross. "It's a good crime prevention effort by neighbors and police."
Another crime making an impression in Seaside is vandalism. Incidences of vandalism are up 19 percent.
"The only way to effectively reduce vandalism is for the community to be the eyes and ears of the police department," said Gross. According to Gross vandalism needs to be reported and incidences of graffiti need to be covered up as soon as possible or they become magnets for more graffiti. It is also important to note that not all vandalism is committed by kids.
"Talking to Pam Fleming, who hangs the flower baskets around town in the summers, the people who were taking down the baskets and throwing them in the river or in flower beds, those people were not kids, they were adults who had too much to drink," said Gross.
Public safety is a partnership and Gross says the police department is always reliant upon the community to be a large part of law enforcement through the reporting of crimes. He says it is difficult to pinpoint rates of crime prevention but that as long as the department continues to focus upon putting the "right" people in jail and is receiving good tips from the public the overall trend of crime should continue to move downward.
"Like the old addage says, 'We spend 90 percent of the time dealing with 6 percent of the population,'" said Gross.