Vista, Ca., near San Diego, reports that its crime total rose 24 percent last year. The San Diego Union-Tribune says that “The mayor blames the economy. Sheriff’s officials say it’s a glut of shoplifters. Townsfolk say a sharp spike in crime here last year can be due to many factors, ranging from too few deputies to too many delinquents.”
No city in the San Diego area saw an upswing as pronounced as Vista. Property crime, including auto theft, burglary and theft, rose nearly 30 percent. Countywide, the crime rate rose only 1 percent.
Vista Mayor Morris Vance said, “We definitely cannot afford more police officers right now. With the budget it’s hard to keep what we have.”
Vance lays part of the blame for the crime increase on the faltering economy. ith an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent, Vista is suffering, the mayor said.
The mayor said that falling crime rates before last year were “too low to sustain.” They had to go up.” Last year’s rate was 34.6 crimes per 1,000 people, still significantly lower than 1998’s rate of 40 per 1,000 people.