Staff Report

The rate of both violent crime and overall crime fell in areas served by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office in 2018, according to statistics compiled by the department.

The overall crime rate was 11 percent lower than in 2017, and the most serious crimes hit their lowest point in the past 10 years, Sheriff Bill Brown noted.

The department serves unincorporated areas of the county as well as the cities of Buellton, Solvang, Goleta and Carpinteria. Other cities have their own police forces, which report their statistics separately.

 “We are incredibly fortunate to live in a community where law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders and the courts are all working collaboratively to improve public safety within our communities,” Brown said.

The Sheriff’s Office compiles the statistics for inclusion in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports system (UCR). For UCR purposes, reports are broken down into two major categories: Part 1 crimes, which are the most serious, and Part 2 crimes, which include lesser criminal offenses and some juvenile status offenses.

Part 1 crimes are further broken down into two subcategories: violent crimes and property crimes. Part 1 violent crimes involve force or a threat of force and include homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Part 1 property crimes are theft-related offenses that do not involve threats or force against the victim, including burglary, larceny, theft and motor vehicle theft.

When compared with 2017, violent crime was down by 20 percent, with the most significant reductions occurring in robbery (53 percent drop) and forcible rape (39 percent drop).

Part 1 property crime was down by 21 percent with the most statistically relevant reductions occurring in burglary (31 percent drop) and theft (20 percent drop). The only Part 1 crime that increased in 2018 was motor vehicle theft, which increased by 10 percent over the previous year.

Part 2 crimes were down by 9 percent over the previous year, although some individual Part 2 crimes increased and some declined.

Part 2 crime categories that experienced notable declines over the previous year included liquor law violations (40 percent drop), public drunkenness (34 percent drop) and disorderly conduct (21 percent drop).

Statistically relevant increases included possession of stolen property (69 percent increase), fraud (25 percent increase), drug possession (25 percent increase) and weapons charges (13 percent increase). Increases were notable in juvenile status offenses as well.

Part 1 crime rates by jurisdiction, 2018 vs. 2017:

  • Unincorporated areas overall: 21 percent decline
    • 21 percent decline in violent crime
    • 20 percent decline in property crime
  • Buellton: 44 percent overall decline
    • 100 percent decline in violent crime (3 fewer)
    • 41 percent decline in property crime
  • Solvang: 41 percent overall decline
    • 14 percent increase in violent crime (1 additional)
    • 48 percent decline in property crime
  • Carpinteria: 40 percent overall decline
    • 57 percent decline in violent crime
    • 38 percent decline in property crime
  • Goleta: 7 percent overall decline
    • 2 percent increase in violent crime (1 additional)
    • 9 percent decline in property crime