Fortuna Crime on the Rise?
The Fortuna Police Department Crime Prevention Unit recently released FOPD’s quarterly statistics (January – April) for 2016.
The following graphs are from the Fortuna Police Department Crime Prevention Unit Facebook page.
Not surprising, calls from service have increased from 2015 stats. At a recent Council Workshop, Chief Dobberstein said the 15 FOPD officers (including the Chief and Lieutenant) handle approximately 56 calls for service each day. In 2015, they handled a total of 20,250 calls. If the numbers stay consistent, we can expect this number to keep increasing.
Total arrests for the current quarter are down. Possible reasons include the consequences of Prop 47 as well as lower officer productivity due to staffing issues. When staffing is not sufficient, officers are faced with reactive, rather than proactive policing options. This is a problematic area Chief Dobberstein stressed at several Eel Valley Crime Stoppers meetings. The total arrests include those subjects transported to jail as well as released with a notice to appear.
Property crimes show a decrease in this quarter. With the passing of Prop 47, the following areas were reduced to misdemeanors:
- Shoplifting, where the value of property stolen does not exceed $950
- Grand theft, where the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950
- Receiving stolen property, where the value of the property does not exceed $950
- Forgery, where the value of forged check, bond or bill does not exceed $950
- Fraud, where the value of the fraudulent check, draft or order does not exceed $950
- Writing a bad check, where the value of the check does not exceed $950
- Personal use of most illegal drugs
Many in law enforcement feel this leads to thieves basically receiving a slap on the hand for crimes that used to send them to jail. Because of the known little consequences for their negative actions you can still see quite a bit of property theft. Also, reflecting back at the FOPD bulletins from last year, there was a handful of subjects responsible for numerous petty thefts around town. Now that these people have moved on or are otherwise out of the equation, the numbers going down.
Fortuna Parks have been hit hard with vandalisms this year. Arson and other damage has been reported to both Rohner and Newburg parks.
And here’s an interesting press release issued by California Police Chief’s Association detailing out the aftermath of Prop 47 and it’s relation so property crime.
With the increase of assaults and robberies, as indicated in this chart, some can attributed to the passing of Prop 47. When suspects know that the time doesn’t necessarily serve the crime, they are more apt to forego the law. There is also a huge opiate and meth issue in Humboldt that touches Fortuna as well, causing additional related crimes. It’s a vicious circle where drug abuse, theft and violence rotate around.
Traffic offenses are way up and the incidence of traffic accidents have increased as well. Two new officers, in addition to several grants earmarked towards related traffic violations (cell phone use, seat-belt usage, DUI prevention, etc.), seem to have potentially boosted numbers. However, the “Traffic Related” category covers not only citations but traffic related incidents as well. Drive safe-r Fortuna!
To see more about Fortuna stats as well as other cities in Humboldt (or throughout California), you can visit the CA Department of Justice (DOJ) site. It currently houses stats from 2005-2014. Each month, police agencies are required to report their statistics to the State of California DOJ and the results are compiled on this website.