Crime drops in Bakersfield compared to last year, answer could be more lighting

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Statistics show overall crime dropped nearly 10% over the past six months compared to last year, the City of Bakersfield said in a report Monday.

In an effort to continue the downtick in crime, City Councilman Terry Maxwell brought lighting downtown to the council’s attention. Bakersfield Police Sergeant Joe Grubbs says crime often occurs in pockets of shadows and business owners also agree the simple solution of a few light bulbs could help.

“Any step sometimes very little is definitely helpful. Nobody would like to commit the crime under the spotlight,” Jerry Baranowski, owner of Jerry’s Pizza said.

The report stated three crimes that dropped the most included homicide, down by 46%, rape, fell by 70%, and grand theft auto, which fell by 23%. Though crime looks like it’s decreased on paper, business owners among others want to see it on the streets. “I think you need proof, I would like to see that,” Alondra Dominguez, a downtown volunteer said.

A couple business owners think the statistics, though encouraging, may not be correct. “I would like to believe it is absolutely true, but sometimes the statistics are very controversial to the reality,” Baranowski said.

Ricky Clemmons, owner of a plumbing business downtown, said he was assaulted in 2013 and after calling 9-1-1 an officer was never dispatched. He said he got a call the next morning, 10 hours later, from the police offering to send an officer.

Clemmons said this is a regular occurrence in the city. “Crime in Bakersfield hasn’t stopped, it’s underreported because people know they can’t get a police officer there,” Ricky Clemmons said.

While some are doubtful, others who frequent downtown say they, in fact have seen a decrease in crime. “Usually I see people beating up on the street and what not, and I’m just noticing it’s not there no more,” Jesus Cervantes said.

The city is working with PG&E to get their plan into action. The last time the proposal was brought up was April 2014.

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