Staff Report

The crime statistics recently released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department as not changing too much, with only a slight increase in property crimes. 

For Solvang there was a 25 percent increase in violent crimes (up two cases from last year) but the numbers are still very low, the Sheriff’s office said. There was an increase in property thefts by 17 percent in Solvang, however. This is a good reminder to be aware of the items in your vehicles and to always remember to lock your doors and vehicles at night. 

In Buellton there was no change in violent crimes or property theft from 2018 to 2019, the Sheriff’s office reported

Photo contributed
The crime statistics recently released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department are shown as not changing too much.

In the unincorporated areas of the county, which include Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Ballard and Los Alamos, there was a 1 percent increase in both violent crime and property theft. 

The violent crime rate for all the communities was 6.4 percent lower than in 2018 and 28 percent lower than the 10-year average. Due to a 2.8 percent increase in property crimes, the overall crime rate was 1.6 percent higher than in 2018, but was still 15 percent lower than the 10-year average.  

The Sheriff’s Department compiles information about crimes occurring within the communities they serve and submits this information for inclusion within the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports system (UCR). For the purposes of the UCR system, reports are broken down into two major categories: Part 1 crimes, which are the most serious in nature, and Part 2 crimes, which includes a number of 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 are offenses that involve force or a threat of force and include criminal homicide, forcible 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.

“Within Santa Barbara County, our law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders and the courts are all working together to improve public safety within our communities,” Sheriff Bill Brown said. 

When compared with the previous year (2018), overall Part 1 violent crime was down by 6.4 percent, with the most significant reductions occurring in rape (50 percent drop). Overall Part 1 property crime was 1.6 percent higher, with the most statistically relevant increases occurring in theft (4.8 percent increase). 

Brown credits the continuing stability of the long-term declines in our crime rates to the collaborative efforts that are occurring within the county’s communities and throughout the criminal justice system in Santa Barbara County, and as a result of the ongoing hard work and dedication of the Sheriff’s Department team. 

 “We are continuing our work to reduce criminal recidivism by offering important rehabilitative programming to inmates in our jail,” Brown further pointed out. “Our efforts are also greatly enhanced through collaboration with other county departments and many community-based organizations. Together we are working to enhance the safety and well-being of Santa Barbara County.”