Earlier in a post, we began to examine OB crime trends and hot-spots, identifying important crime maps from crimemapping.com to help understand the recent crime spike and to improve crime awareness and prevention efforts throughout OB. We also examined online statistics from ARJIS.org which indicate OB crime was slightly lower, overall, for August 2012 compared to August 2011.
Despite the data for August, we know there are way too many crimes in OB lately. As we’ve shown, crime maps built from data collected between January and October, 2012 reveal trends and hot-spots, such as the hot zone surrounding the bars downtown.
Of course, the most reported incidents are Alcohol/Drug-related. Additional trends which seem to be overlooked are rampant car thefts and vandalism. Hot-spots exist along Newport and at the west end of Santa Cruz and Saratoga where high crime-density consistently appears on OB crime maps. Other hot spots are located near Niagara at Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
Next, we’ll examine how a similar, smaller-scale pattern exists which demonstrate how crime is scattered along Voltaire bar-zones, too.
What can we easily learn from crime rates and trends? We don’t need a crime system to know what’s going on: OB crime has gotta’ stop! We know there has been way too many sex crimes, assaults, robbery, theft, and vandalism . . . to name a few.
What is up, OB? Has this happened before? Let’s look for some answers and compare the crime index values available from ARJIS.org going back to 2008.
We know the OB crime index for August was average for the 5 years, and the 2012 August Crime Index of 49 is lower than August 2011 at 54. What about other years?
Based upon ARJIS.org crime statistics for SDPD, reported crime for OB is about the same, today, as it was five years ago, as shown above. The 2012 August Crime Index of 49 is about the same as the 2008 August Crime index of 50.
But OB has seen some other big crime spikes over recent years. For example, ARJIS.org statistics show several crime spikes occurred in 2008 and were much higher than what we’re experiencing, today.
What does this say about crime in OB? How does this compare to other years?
The September 2012 crime reports from ARJIS.org may shed more light when the SDPD data becomes available over the next week, or so. In the mean time, examining the crime index for recent years has revealed some darker truths surrounding OB’s history of crime.
Still, the crime index is a more general guide to understanding local crime, and the crime index is not the same as examining actual crime rates.
The Crime Spike of September 2008
More than a spike, 2008 proved to be a highly volatile period in OB’s crime history. Again, using the ARJIS.org statistics we noticed the July 2008 index of 53 was followed by an August 2008 crime index of 50 (about the same as August 2012). We note the August 2008 index was due to reports including 2 Rapes, 1 armed robbery, 1 strong armed robbery, 5 assaults, 7 burglary, 15 total thefts, and 11 car thefts.
But the September 2008 crime index jumped to 62!
The crime index jumped to 62 in September 2009, up from 50 in August 2008.
What about other months in 2008? 2008 was a volatile year, and the best way to demonstrate is using the crime tables, as crime data for these other months show, below.
The first part of 2008 showed signs of volatility, as February 2008 saw a spike to 55, up from 43 in January. But the index was back down to 44 in March. Next, the July Crime Index total was at 53, up from 45 in June and a low of 33 in May, 2008. April, too, was a low of 34.
OB crime was at a true high point during the last half of 2008. The jump for September 2008 was due to reports of 3 rapes, 3 armed robberies, 13 total burglary, 27 total thefts, among 14 car thefts. . . All this in a single month! In Ocean Beach!!
The October index would fall back to 49, but for November 2008 the crime index would rise back up to 55.
OB Crime Index Values: 2009 – 2011 (June to December)
With online tools, you can always ask additional questions or obtain more data and information. But, it is important to focus on answering some basic questions, and examine the results.
For comparison, the following tables include OB crime index values for June through December, between 2009 and 2011. In summary, both June 2010 and June 2011 show a high crime index of 61. Contrast that with the one-month low for December 2011, with a crime index of 32.
OB Crime Index Values: June to December, 2009
OB Crime Index Values: June to December, 2010
OB Crime Index Values: June to December, 2011
Scatter patterns reveal Voltaire hot-spots
As we’ve seen in a previous article on OB crime rates, the scatter patterns shown on crime maps are useful tools to identify crime hot-spots. As previously reported, Newport is a hub for crime, when incidents are measured on the crime map over longer time periods.
Recall, for Newport and surrounding areas, incidents appear solidly on crime maps which depict crime activity over extended periods. Specifically, crime maps show incidents spilling over from Newport Avenue. Heavier patterns exist along surrounding areas and parallel streets along Santa Monica and Saratoga, forming a most-active crime zone.
Another hot-zone is less obvious but appears when incidents are mapped over time. A consistent number of crimes appear along Voltaire, with a similar pattern which can be observed on shorter-term maps for Newport. Voltaire exhibits similar crime tendencies, though on a smaller scale and variety, as when compared to Newport crime areas.
Crime legend and map icons for Voltaire Street
The following maps and reports include icons which are described on the following website:
Examining the scatter pattern over time, clearly Voltaire’s bar districts show crime increases, and spill-over onto neighboring streets. At each point along Voltaire, where bars and liquor stores are scattered, incidents seem to radiate. This general emissions pattern extends from the West of OB, and on out into the far-east side of Ocean Beach.
Snapshot of crime incidents since Jan 2012 reveal Voltaire hot-spots and trends on a smaller-scale and with similar patterns seen for Newport Avenue bar zones. Along Voltaire, crime maps tend to display more black icons depicting areas which experience a high-density of crimes (Legend: http://www.crimemapping.com/help/help.aspx#legend).
Alcohol/Drug Related and DUI – #1 offenses on most crime maps
The lavender needle icon appears on crime maps and reports, indicating the single largest crime incident reported across the city of San Diego. These are alcohol and drug related crimes. While the list of crimes in OB is wide-ranging, and includes a large number of overall crime categories, clearly alcohol and drug crimes persist, and these incidents make up a majority of OB crime.
Octoberfest Crime “spike” – Friday the 12th was a violent day in OB
Obviously there are way too many violent and weirdo crimes, from the two stabbings that occurred over Octoberfest weekend, but there was more to it. The weekend and leading up to Octoberfest in OB saw all variety of “sex crimes”, including assaults. But how much crime are we experiencing and how much worse has it been lately?
The recent Octoberfest seems to have proven a real catalyst for crime, as the detailed crime data indicates. It is no wonder many local OBceans complain about rising crime, when the week leading up to the events, and the weekend saw spikes in several serious categories. But the more detailed crime reports provide a more important story, and may point to the causes behind the crime trends over the Octoberfest weekend.
Using some simple internet tools, we can quickly learn more details about local crime trends and hot spots. For example, it seems readily apparent how crime statistics showed some sharp spikes surrounding the Ocktoberfest weekend.
Seven crimes were reported on 10/12/12 in OB
Crimemapping.com data shows seven crimes were reported on 10/12/12 in OB. Doesn’t sound like many but seven crimes in a single day is fairly high for OB, relative to other recent days. But each crime appears to be in an over-spill area from Newport Avenue, though this is somewhat speculative.
What’s interesting is the diversity of crime on this day. These seven incidents include a variety of crimes, each spread out around town and committed as multiple, separate offenses. Of course, we know of the first stabbing which occurred on Friday night, but more general crime was going down all over OB throughout the day including theft, assault, and sex crime. We know, too, the violence continued throughout the weekend.
Crime maps lag behind real-time incidents
Finally, we’ve seen how online tools are useful for determining trends and hot-spots, but all tools have limitations. When evaluating crime rates and trends, it is important to understand each of the tools, and how to use them to obtain consistent reports.
The crime map shows 7 crimes reported for OB between 10/26 and 10/30, 2012 (Legend: http://www.crimemapping.com/help/help.aspx#legend).
Examine the report and you’ll identify basic information reported for each incident. Notice, too, the most recent sex crime has NOT appeared, yet. These maps have limited purpose and use for evaluating crime, and crime data updates are somewhat slow to appear. For this reason, follow-up is crucial before communicating crime reports to OB.
For example, the recent Sex Crime should appear in the next few days. OBceans know the recent attack on a young woman occurred inside her OB home last Sunday at 5:45am. Sample crime map: crimemapping.com