Newly released FBI statistics indicate Hemet’s violent crime down by 32%, felony arrests up by 40%
HEMET — Recently released FBI crime statistics indicate the City of Hemet Police Department reported a 32 percent decrease in violent crimes and an overall 10 percent reduction in all crimes during the third quarter of 2017, when compared to the same period in 2016. Despite the decrease in reported crimes, during the same time frame, Hemet PD felony arrests increased by 40 percent.
However, in spite of the improved statistics, assaults on police officers remained the same, with twenty-seven assaults reported during the first nine months of both 2016 and 2017; indicating Hemet’s police officers are still fighting an uphill and often dangerous battle.
According to a Nov. 30 Hemet Police Department news release, the sharp decrease in violent crime and overall crime reduction and increase in felony arrests “follows several years of increasing crime due to the negative effect of the Great Recession and a series of State laws and reforms favoring criminals.”
“The great recession was devastating to our community,” Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown explained in an email discussing the latest statistics.
“We lost over 30 percent of our police force overnight and the state and country began releasing tens of thousands of violent criminals into our communities,” explained Brown.
“This perfect storm hit us hard,” Brown continued, “but we’ve always known that with adequate resources, a solid plan and incredibly hard work, we would be able to turn it around.”
“Hemet is in a better place today,” Brown opined, saying, “because so many people came together and worked hard through a really tough time.”
According to Brown, the big changes in crime statistics and improvements in public safety came after Hemet voters passed “Measure U,” a 1-cent sales tax committed to public safety and the Hemet City Council authorized the police department to implement an “aggressive anti-crime initiative.”
After Measure U passed in November 2016, Brown addressed the city council last January, saying the community could not afford to wait for the new revenue to begin coming in and he requested permission to immediately begin hiring new officers and deploying specialized units.
The council subsequently approved Brown’s request and joined the chief, District Attorney Mike Hestrin and County Supervisor Chuck Washington in declaring a “war on crime and violence” just three months later, in April of this year.
With Brown’s guidance after submitting the department’s Immediate Action Plan and with the city council’s approval, Hemet Police Department quickly increased its sworn officer staffing by more than 20 percent – jumping from 66 to 79 sworn officers.
Additionally, the department doubled the number of civilian Community Service Officers to free up sworn officers for “enforcement and prevention activities,” said Brown.
According to Brown and others within the City of Hemet, last week’s released FBI statistics show the department’s crime-fighting efforts are already paying off.
“While these early numbers are encouraging, we’re still fighting the effects of prison ‘reform’ and a severely undersized county jail system,” said Brown.
“We predicted this would happen. In fact, we promised it would,” Brown explained. “But it takes an entire community working together with a unified city council and an extremely committed police force to recover and restore a community. We are well on our way to accomplishing that goal.”
Deputy Police Chief Rob Webb, who is scheduled to take over as Hemet’s police chief on Dec. 22, echoed Brown’s sentiments, saying, “We still have a long way to go but we will continue to work hard and use our resources to drive down crime and improve quality of life for everyone.”
Now, with Brown’s departure from Hemet PD looming, the soon-to-retire chief explained, “As I prepare to retire at the end of the year, I feel incredibly proud of our community and our police department and I feel truly blessed to have been a part of it. We’ve shown the world that working together and fighting through adversity pays off.”
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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.