YUCCA VALLEY — Sheriff’s Capt. Trevis Newport gave a detailed report on a year’s worth of crime at the Town Council meeting Tuesday.
Violent crime — murder, rape, robbery and assault — increased 23 percent over the last year in Yucca Valley, but Newport said it’s not really a shocking increase, due to changes in how charges are calculated.
In 2018, there were two murders in Yucca Valley, eight reported rapes, 21 robberies, 54 aggravated assaults and 146 simple assaults, according to the report.
In 2017, there were no murders, nine reported rapes, 18 robberies, 38 aggravated assaults and 123 simple assaults.
One item that is way up — by 400 percent: arson cases as a result of honey oil labs where a potent oil is extracted from cannabis plants using flammable solvents. The cases went from one to five, Newport said.
Newport said thanks to how little crime is reported in Yucca Valley, a small increase in the number of violent crimes creates a high percentage difference.
The number of non-violent crimes — burglary, larceny and grand theft auto‚ have decreased by 23 percent, going from 444 cases in 2017 to 340 last year.
“I wish I had better news for you,” Newport said. “We want to keep this the best living area in the county of San Bernardino.”
The council was also introduced to detective Manny Popa, who was assigned to the town with money from the Measure Y sales tax increase.
Newport also cautioned people to stop giving criminals the chance to take advantage of them. Lock the doors to your homes and vehicles, he said, and keep vigilant about your surroundings.
“Even though you feel you can leave it unlocked — don’t!” Newport said.
Councilman Abel said he was still pleased with the report and asked how Yucca Valley compared with other cities in the region.
“This area has always been low in crime,” Newport replied. “I feel confident that trend will continue. You are still way lower than other cities.”
Newport said his detectives are closing investigations and targeting criminals from outside of the area trying to infiltrate the community.
“They are closing cases; they absolutely are,” Newport said. “We may get that spike every once in a while, but we will be all over it.”
On the horizon, Newport said facial-recognition technology is finding its way into the police departments across the county.
“It works,” he said. “It truly does. That technology is definitely increasing.”