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Crime down 15%

Post Date:02/07/2024

From mid-year 2022 to mid-year 2023, Carlsbad saw an overall 15% decrease in crime, based on regional mid-year data released by SANDAG and its Automated Regional Justice Information System. The Carlsbad Police Department presented the latest data, and update on crime trends and how the department is responding at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

  • For crimes against persons, which include murder, assault, rape and human trafficking, the city experienced a 19% reduction from mid-year 2022 to mid-year 2023.
  • For crimes against property, which include theft, robbery, burglary, vandalism, auto theft and fraud, the City of Carlsbad saw a 15% reduction from mid-year 2022 to midyear 2023
  • In crimes against society, which includes drug, weapons and prostitution violations, Carlsbad saw a 12% reduction from mid-year 2022 to mid-year 2023.

Based on the data, several national, statewide and regional trends are affecting the incidence of crime in Carlsbad. These include:

  • Organized retail theft
  • Residential burglaries
  • Fentanyl overdoses
  • Catalytic converter thefts
  • Ghost guns

Fentanyl overdoses
In 2021, the Carlsbad Police Department saw a total of 115 drug overdoses, 16 of them fatal, with the majority being fentanyl related. To address the spike in overdoses, the department changed the policy for overdose investigations in early 2021 to require a detective to be called in to investigate all overdoses that involve a juvenile, whether fatal or not, and all fatal overdoses involving an adult.

The department also started using the Overdose Detection Mapping Application. It provides near real-time suspected overdose data across jurisdictions, including a mapping tool, to support public safety and public health efforts so that agencies can mobilize an immediate response to a sudden increase in overdoses.

The department also purchased Narcan, a life-saving medication used to reverse an opioid overdose, including heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioid medications, and trained all officers on its use in 2021. In 2022, the Carlsbad Police Department recorded a drop in overdoses with a total of 66, five of them fatal. In 2023, the city experienced a total of 38 overdoses, 11 fatal.

Ghost guns
The Police Department also provided the latest data on ghost guns, non-serialized and untraceable firearms that are purchased illegally, without a background check. Carlsbad Police officers were involved in two officer-involved shootings in 2023. Both subjects in the shootings were carrying ghost guns.

Given this crime trend, and following the two shootings involving ghost guns, the Carlsbad Police Department’s Crime Suppression Team is focusing on seizing non-serialized firearms and arresting the individuals who have or are distributing them. The department also established an ad-hoc task force with other North County police agencies, as well as the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to collaborate on enforcement actions and intelligence regarding these weapons.

Use of technology
The report also included an overview of the Police Department’s use of technology such as license plate readers, vehicle dashboard cams and the use of e-citations to help prevent and solve crimes.

For example, in December 2023, license plate readers helped identify a suspect in the hit and run of a student walking home from school. The driver, who was on probation for assault and had a criminal history that included driving under the influence resulting in injuries, reckless driving, auto theft, robbery, carjacking, burglary, and felony evading, was arrested for felony hit-and run and returned to prison.

The department is currently exploring what is known as a real time crime center. The core function of a real time crime center is data gathering, analysis and information-sharing to aid in decision-making and response coordination.

Overall, the department said utilizing technology has helped maximize limited resources and enabled real-time-data-informed decisions.

The presentation Tuesday ended with a reminder for the public to do their part by reporting suspicious behavior. The Police Department has a 24/7 non-emergency phone line, 442-339-2197. For emergencies and to report a crime in progress, call 9-1-1.

Read the staff report

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