Garden Grove

Violent crime rising, says police chief

GGPD CHIEF TOM DaRe (OC Tribune photo).

Since the coronavirus pandemic led to restrictions and closings in April, many categories of crime in Garden Grove have risen sharply.

In a presentation Tuesday night to the City Council, Police Chief Tom DaRe outlined the impacts on public safety of both the COVID-19 and the release from jails and prisons of non-violent offenders.

From March to April of this year, he told the council:

  • Sexual assaults are down 57 percent.
  • Robbery is up 28 percent.
  • Aggravated assault is up 50 percent.
  • Simple (misdemeanor) assault is up 50 percent.
  • Burglary is up 40 percent.
  • Auto theft is up 89 percent.
  • Overall, violent crime is up 38 percent.
  • Property crime is up 35 percent.

In response to crowded conditions in correctional institutions, the state ordered release on “zero dollar” bail for misdemeanor and lower level offenders.

“Zero bail has had a big impact on public safety in Garden Grove,” said DaRe. Citing year-to-date statistics from April 2019 to April 2020, he noted that aggravated assaults in Garden Grove were up 55 percent, auto thefts up 18 percent and robberies 11 percent.

Overall, violent crime rose over that period by 14.9 percent, although property crime has declined by 10 percent.

The chief also noted that because of the governor’s “stay at home” order banning group meetings, there would be no block party permits issued in Garden Grove for the Independence Day period.

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