CBS Los Angeles

Ventura County Sheriff Reports Decrease In Overall Crime, Uptick In Commercial Theft

The Sheriff’s Crime Analysis Unite compared crime statistics between March 2019 and March 2020.

VENTURA (CBSLA) — Overall reported crime in Ventura County is down from this time last year due to COVID-19, the Sheriff’s Department said Thursday. However, the county is seeing an uptick in commercial burglaries and thefts, as well as stolen vehicles.

The Sheriff’s Crime Analysis Unite compared crime statistics between March 2019 and March 2020. While the pandemic has caused a reduction in most crimes, the department said commercial burglaries may be up because many businesses are closed and left unattended.

“The uptick in commercial burglaries and thefts is likely due to the fact that many businesses are closed, which leaves commercial zones more vulnerable while they are being visited by far fewer people than normal,” the department said in a statement. “As a result, deputies are focusing more attention on commercial and retail areas to deter property crimes.”

As for stolen vehicles, leaving cars unlocked or running with the keys inside can create an opportunity for theft.

“Simply locking your car and taking the key with you will substantially reduce the number of vehicles stolen countywide,” the sheriff’s department said.

Removing valuable property from cars, even if they are locked, can also help deter theft.

MORE: Ventura County Reports 20 New Coronavirus Cases, 1 Additional Death

Other areas across the Southland are also experiencing a reduction in overall crime due to coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Monday that crime in the city had decreased by 23 percent this March compared to last year as Angelenos followed the mayor’s Safer at Home order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Moore said the city saw reductions in crime in nearly every category except auto theft, which saw a slight increase.

“People staying at home in their neighborhoods, watching out for each other and exercising social distancing is allowing us to have a safer city,” Moore said.

Even reported family violence, which many worried might increase as families spent more time in close quarters, decreased by 11 percent, Moore said.

Crime reduction “is the one area of benefit, if you will, from this terrible virus, this terrible infliction of injury and pain in our society,” Moore said.