Two Sacramento City Coutncil members want more information about the rising number of reported violent crimes in the city, reports the Sacramento Bee. Police Chief Albert Nájera and some council members said a Bee article detailing rising crime lacked context and exaggerated the problem. The Bee focused on 10 neighborhoods where an analysis of crime data indicates violent crime increased by more than 75 percent during the last five years. Violent crime citywide rose about 30 percent during the same time frame while the city’s population increased 11 percent.
Residents in those 10 neighborhoods largely blamed the increases on a rise in gang activity, vagrancy, and drug abuse. Some residents cited inadequate police patrols. Mayor Heather Fargo said Sacramento is not alone in experiencing increasing crime. “This is a trend which we are seeing throughout the United States, because of changing demographics,” she said. The most recent figures from the FBI say that violent crime reports are not increasing either statewide or nationwide. The violent crime rate dropped about 8 percent nationwide from 2000 to 2004, and about 11 percent in California during the same period. Told of the nationwide trend, Fargo said, “I’m not a statistician.” She said Sacramento is hiring more police officers, which should help. Police note that some agencies report crimes to the FBI differently than others. The Sacramento Police Department switched to a new system for tracking crime in 2004, which police said could have contributed to the statistical increase.