Daly City safety keeps improving

As car thefts, aggravated assaults and murders have dropped dramatically in the past year, Daly City police can give themselves another pat on the back: Two suspects accused of a multitude of home burglaries were arrested this week.

In the last year, 92 aggravated assaults were reported, police said, the lowest count since 1998 and a 30 percent drop since 2006.

For the first time since 2003, there were no murders. Carthefts also saw a significant drop last year: Police reported 411 cars stolen, the lowest number since 2000 and a 20 percent decline from 2006.

But the one area of crime that has seen a steady rise has been home burglaries. Burglaries were reported 291 times in 2007, up from 243 in 2006.

Police attribute the significant rise in burglaries to two suspects who have been terrorizing apartments in the Westlake area.

The suspects — an adult and a juvenile — were arrested this week after they were caught in the act, Daly City police Capt. Mike Edwards said.

Edwards also said the Police Department’s new approach adopted last year may be responsible for the decrease in crime.

Last year, Daly City police hired a permanent crime analyst who meets with commanders on a weekly basis to report crime patterns throughout the city.

“The crime analyst tells you that auto burglaries are occurring in this area in a certain time of day and it’s up to the watch commander to address it,” Edwards said. “Without a dedicated crime analyst, the information doesn’t get out as quickly and it isn’t reviewed as well because when you’re always chasing, you can’t analyze patterns. That’s worked quite well for us in many areas.”

The new crime analyst is part of the department’s so-called CompStat approach that uses analysts to identify crime trends and transfers more control over addressing the trends to local commanders.

“If a certain area has a certain crime problem, you empower them to solve those crimes and make them accountable for it,” said Edwards, who said the tactic used in New York, Los Angeles and Baltimore is paying off.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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