By Leon Worden/SCVNEWS.com
The Santa Clarita Valley’s violent crime rate has risen 50.7 percent so far in 2012, according to data released Friday by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Only Carson has seen a higher rate of increase in violent crime (53.3 percent) among the sheriff’s 23 reporting areas.
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During the first four months of the year, 155 violent crimes were committed in the Santa Clarita Valley, versus 103 during the first four months of 2011.
Violent crimes include homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. No homicides occurred in the SCV between Jan. 1 and April 30; most of the violent crimes have been robberies and assaults.
Property crimes – burglary, larceny, grand theft auto and arson – were up 7.6 percent over the same period: 1,209 through April 30, 2012, versus 1,124 during the same period in 2011.
Combined, major crimes (violent crimes and property crimes) have risen 11.2 percent year-over-year.
Increases were recorded in all categories of crime except homicide and arson.
Major crimes have risen more sharply in the city of Santa Clarita (13.21 percent) than in the unincorporated sections of the Santa Clarita Valley (5.72 percent).
The breakdown in the SCV as a whole for the first four months of 2012 versus the first four months of 2011 is as follows:
Homicide: 0 through April 30, 2012; 1 through April 30, 2011
Rape: 11 in 2012, 6 in 2011 (up 86.4 percent)
Robbery: 46 in 2012, 29 in 2011 (up 58.3 percent)
Agg. Assault: 98 in 2012, 67 in 2011 (up 46.6 percent)
Burglary: 281 in 2012, 265 in 2011 (up 6.1 percent)
Larceny: 810 in 2012, 761 in 2011 (up 6.4 percent)
GTA: 108 in 2012, 88 in 2011 (up 22.9 percent)
Arson: 10 in 2012, 10 in 2011 (no change)
Santa Clarita’s increase in major crime during 2012 coincides with the implementation of Assembly Bill 109, Gov. Jerry Brown’s prison realignment legislation, which granted early release to thousands of convicted criminals. Some media outlets have reported that AB 109 applies only to “low-level” offenders, but this is a misnomer. The list includes felony child abuse, assault and battery, DUI manslaughter, supplying children with heroin or meth, street gang recruiting, selling weapons to mental patients, threats against peace officers. Santa Clarita is receiving far more “early release” prisoners than the average; while the Santa Clarita Valley has only 0.6 percent of the state’s population, plans call for the SCV to receive 6 percent of the AB 109 prisoners.