OP/ED – Recent Crime Statistics Facebook Post Explanation And Update

Trevor Montgomery
I recently posted a picture showing all the crime reports I have written for Riverside County News Source in the last 60 days. The number of reports represented were not based on any statistical facts but primarily based on press releases provided from the involved agencies. Plus, there were a number of other, associated factors involved that I mentioned in my post, that explained my reports were not represented as statistical facts, for a variety of reasons, but just represented anecdotal evidence of overall crime in our area as made available through press releases from the agencies involved.
Listing of the 83 crime reports I wrote about over the past 60 days for Riverside County News Source

Listing of the 83 crime reports I wrote about over the past 60 days for Riverside County News Source

One of those factors I explained that can drastically skew those numbers is that often times, smaller agencies, such as Hemet Police Department with around 60 officers and Murrieta PD with around 100 officers are more likely to post much more detailed information and press releases about many of the “lesser” crimes. Arrests such as of people with warrants or low-level criminal activity; whereas larger departments or county agencies such as the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RSO) typically don’t put out press releases about those lower level crimes.

With around 3,500 deputies covering not only all unincorporated areas and communities within the county, but 17 of the county’s 26 cities, as well, an agency that size simply does not have the time to post all the smaller criminal activity from all the department’s various stations. RSO is the second-largest sheriff’s department and third largest police agency in California, with a total staff of over 4,500 employees.

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Interestingly, although the San Jacinto Police Department is a contract city with RSO, they have their own Facebook page and they put out more press releases than any other agency I can think of, other than Hemet PD or Riverside PD. So the simple fact that they put out more press releases than most of the other cities and areas combined, does a lot to explain why I have so many reports from that area. They simply put out far more press releases than anyone else and therefore give me a lot to work with.

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Without actually looking at the hard statistics, going by press releases alone can make it look as if more crimes are occurring in one area than another while that might not be the case at all. It can also make it seem as though crimes aren’t occurring in certain areas or that arrests aren’t being made when they most certainly are. Based on the size of the department involved, they might just not warrant a press release for whatever reason.

Hard statistics vital to seeing and understanding the full picture

I am currently working on an article that specifically breaks down the most recently available crime statistics from throughout our area, including county statistics as well as many city statistics. Basically as much as I can possibly find or obtain. This will hopefully put things into a much better perspective of how our valley’s crime stats really look, based on factual statistics, not anecdotal evidence based primarily on press releases and breaking news stories.

I am including below, my edited text from that original post. For some reason, whenever people shared the post, it only was sharing my original, unedited text; which did not fully explain how those report numbers were obtained and explain various relevant factors, such as the fact I reside in Hemet, so I am obviously bound to get more news leads from the area I reside in. Since those shares did not include that edited and expanded explanation, it caused further complications and confusion.

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Social Media and the rise of Citizen Reporters

Please understand, our little valley has a very obvious crime problem and in ways, crime does seems to be on the rise. However, one huge factor why crime could seem to be on the rise, especially in our valley right now, has been the increase of “citizen reporters”, social media “news” sites and social media sharing. Before social media became the new trend in how many people like to receive their news, unless one of the big news agencies had, or took, the time to report about the crimes, the cases often went unheard about. The press releases have always been there, but other than the biggest most news-worthy crimes, most of the crime occurring went unknown and unheard about.

As social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others have grown and people like myself saw a need to be filled in the form of citizen reporting, ” news organizations” such as my own little endeavor have begun to increase across the nation; making it easier than ever to hear about what is happening in the cities we reside in as well as the cities around our own.

Until social media news sites like Hemet News-run by Eddie George, Epicenter News-run by Miguel Shannon, What’s up Riverside County-run by John Denilofs, Hemet/San Jacinto Crime Reporting-run by Scott Gordon, Hemet Valley Incidents-run by Aric Bell, and my own labor of love, Riverside County News Source and many others like them, other than what the “real” newspapers chose to report about, there was no simple way of hearing about or finding information about the types of crime occurring in our valley.

Continued Below

Another big factor missing is the true scope and impact of these crimes as well as a real look at some of the obvious causes of the increase in crime, such as the nightmare debacle caused by AB 109-also known as Post Release Community Supervision and Prop 47-otherwise known as “Fed Kicks”. If you don’t know what those are, it is time to start doing some research. It will explain a lot.

 

AB 109 forced the transition of responsibility for countless felons from the state level to an already overburdened county level.

AB 109 forced the transition of responsibility for countless felons from the state level to an already overburdened county level. Of particular interest in this image are the first four bullet points.

Effective as of November 5, 2014, California’s passing of Proposition 47 changed the sentencing for some of those convicted of low-level, non-violent crimes. It also allowed for the re-sentencing of those already in prison, allowing countless prisoners to be released earlier than their original sentences called for.

Effective as of November 5, 2014, California’s passing of Proposition 47 changed the sentencing for some of those convicted of low-level, non-violent crimes. It also allowed for the re-sentencing of those already in prison, allowing countless prisoners to be released earlier than their original sentences called for.

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Crimes previously charged and sentenced as felonies would be charged and sentenced as misdemeanors under Prop 47.

So, as soon as I collect all the actual statistics and information I will need, you all will all have a report to read from me that fully details the actual crime not only occurring in our valley, but throughout Riverside County.

Below you will find a very basic cross-section comparison of some “recent” crime statistics for three local area cities, as well as how some of those crimes compare to other cities with similar populations.

California-Hemet-Crime-Trends

California-Temecula-Crime-Trends

California-Moreno-Valley-Crime-Trends

California-Hemet-Crime-Types

California-Temecula-Crime-Types

California-Moreno-Valley-Crime-Types

California-Hemet-Crime-Rate

California-Temecula-Crime-Rate

California-Moreno-Valley-Crime-Rate

I am looking forward to providing a full breakdown of crime throughout our county. Be patient as I gather all my necessary statistics.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com
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