Off Beat: Clearing up Yuba County's crime statistics
Sometimes numbers do tell a story when it comes to crime statistics.
Last Sunday, this paper ran a piece on the state of the justice system in Yuba County. How are they doing?
One statistic that wasn't mentioned is the "clearance rate." You can find that statistic on the state Attorney General's Office website, which provides clearance rate stats for every jurisdiction in the state from 2001-10.
What is the clearance rate?
According to the website, a crime is cleared or "solved" when somebody is arrested, charged and a conviction is pursued by prosecutors. A crime also can be cleared by "exceptional means" when a suspect is identified but not arrested. This might occur when an arrest warrant is issued.
A clearance rate is calculated by dividing the number of clearances by the number of crimes reported. The result is multiplied by 100.
So based on this metric, how are they doing in Yuba County and Marysville?
Things have actually improved a lot at the Yuba County Sheriff's Department. In 2005, according to the statistics, a paltry 12.5 percent of violent crimes were cleared. By 2010, that figure had steadily increased to 50.9 percent. Somebody is doing their job.
For burglaries, the figures are also improving, but not as much as you would like. Back in 2001, just 6.4 percent of burglary cases were cleared. So that means more than 90 percent of burglary cases were unsolved. By 2010, the clearance rate had more than doubled to 13.6 percent. The bad guys were still getting away with it.
And Marysville? The trend was downward for violent crimes. Forty-four percent of those crimes were cleared in 2001. In 2010, it was 28.9 percent.
As for burglaries, the clearance rate was 13.2 percent in 2001. In 2010, after some fluctuation, it was 13.6 percent.
How do Yuba County and Marysville rate statewide, at least in 2010?
The Sheriff's Department compares favorably to other law enforcement agencies.
The statewide clearance rate for violent crimes was 42.8 percent, according to the Attorney General's Office.
For Marysville, it wasn't so good.
In the burglary category, both agencies were pretty much on par with the statewide rate, which was only 12.9 percent.
So you can make whatever you want from these stats. Solving crime, especially property crimes, is a fairly daunting task.
And with reduced resources, it's unlikely the clearance rates for those crimes will improve much in the near future.
Be sure to lock your doors.