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Antelope Valley crime rate continues downward trend

October 23, 2009 |  9:12 am

An overall decline in the number of serious crimes in Lancaster and Palmdale for the third quarter of the year is helping to continue a downward trend in the crime rate for the Antelope Valley, officials said.

In Lancaster, the crime rate decreased by 21% between July and September, with an overall improvement in the rate by 23% since the beginning of the year. Palmdale saw an 11% decrease in its crime rate in the third quarter, and experienced a 9% drop in the rate of serious crimes for 2009.

Lancaster’s crime rate improvement so far this year represents 1,043 fewer serious crimes than during the same period in 2008, law enforcement officials said Thursday. Serious crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, burglary, assault, larceny and grand theft auto.

While there were eight homicides in Lancaster in the first nine months of both 2008 and 2009, rapes fell from 47 to 42; robberies from 266 to 247; assaults from 590 to 477; burglaries from 1,208 to 952; and grand theft auto from 392 to 350.

Palmdale’s crime rate drop since the beginning of the year represented 252 fewer crimes than for the same period last year, officials said, although the number of homicides, assaults and rapes registered a slight uptick in the third quarter.

For example, there were four murders in the third quarter of 2008, compared with five in the third quarter of this year. Sheriff’s department officials said that one of the last quarter’s murders resulted in two deaths, though it was a single incident.

Rapes went from 15 to 17 and assaults from 130 to 145. Burglaries increased in Palmdale in the first six months of the year, but the formation in August of a burglary suppression task force helped to produce a reduction in such crimes in the third quarter, said Anne Ambrose, Palmdale’s director of public safety and community relations.

There were 16 fewer burglaries in Palmdale between July and September, compared with the same period last year.

“We’re seeing a downward trend,” Ambrose said.

Officials in Lancaster and Palmdale attributed the overall decrease in the crime rate of their cities to sheriff’s deputies’ taking a more aggressive and innovative approach to tackling gang-related violent crimes.

Lancaster’s Mayor. R. Rex Parris also credited “a faith-based community which is willing to get involved and improve our neighborhoods, and most importantly, citizens who have stood up to make Lancaster the safe community we all want and deserve.”

-- Ann M. Simmons

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