In the spirit of transparency and building community trust, the Port Hueneme Police Department released its annual crime statistics. The Port Hueneme Police Department collects data and crime information as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program coordinated by the FBI. Each year these reliable set of statistics are reported to the FBI and subsequently used for evaluating the overall crime rate in a city.
The City of Port Hueneme saw an overall crime reduction of less than 1% or 3 fewer crimes as compared to last year. The city saw a 32% increase in violent crime and a decrease in property crime of 4.1%. The violent crime increase was attributed to a notable increase in the Aggravated Assaults category which includes; Assault with Deadly Weapon and the Brandishing of Weapons reporting. Of the 38 reported aggravated assaults, 19 resulted in arrests for a total arrest rate of 50%. For the third consecutive year, the City of Port Hueneme did not have a homicide. Robberies continue to be on the decline with a 15% drop between 2019-2020 and 33% drop between 2018-2020.
Property crime in the city decreased by 4.1% with a total of 17 fewer crimes. Reductions were seen in larceny but it was countered with a 12% increase in burglary. Larceny continues to drive our crime rate. Of the 275 thefts reported, shoplifts accounted for 69 of those crimes resulting in a 26% arrest rate, or 18 total arrests. Thefts from vehicles accounted for 68 of the reported larcenies or 24.73%.
While the Motor Vehicle Theft (Auto Theft) category saw a small increase of 2%, the Port Hueneme Police Department took 48 stolen vehicle reports in the city but recovered 86 stolen vehicles during that same time. Of the 86 stolen vehicles recovered, 42 of the vehicles were occupied and resulted in arrest. This is the first time in the city’s history that more vehicles have been recovered than were actually reported stolen in the city. A majority of the vehicles that were recovered occupied or unoccupied came from other cities such as Oxnard.
The increase in rape cases is attributed to child abuse cases. All child abuse cases whereby a victim is “raped” is listed in this category. Four of the seven cases listed are associated with child abuse cases.
The months of April, May, and June accounted for our highest crime months during the year while the months of January and February, before the pandemic started, remained our lowest months.
Police Chief Andrew Salinas said the following about the reduction in overall crime:
“This year was marked with a number of significant challenges including a global pandemic, civil unrest, youth not attending in-person school, and more people were forced to stay at home based on the County’s Health Orders.”
Chief Salinas further stated that, “Larcenies remain the driving force behind our crime rate with thefts from vehicles and shoplifting leading this category. The decriminalization of theft for repeat offenses has made it difficult to keep criminals from re-offending in this category. Add the overall impact of the pandemic in which some people in our community lost their jobs, coupled with youth not being able to be physically engaged in a school environment, makes way for these types of opportunistic crime.”
In regards to DUI related traffic offenses, the City of Port Hueneme saw a large decline. Chief Salinas commented, “DUI related traffic collisions also saw a considerable decline in 2020 with 10 collisions in 2020 as compared to 17 in 2019. This can potentially be attributed to bars and restaurants being closed for a majority of 2020. In addition, there were no traffic collisions in 2020 related to being under the influence of cannabis.”
“With cannabis taking effect in Port Hueneme in 2017, many believed it would be a contributing factor and a source for criminal activity. This remains one of the biggest myths about cannabis today” said Chief Salinas. He further explains, “Illegal dispensaries are a hotbed for criminal activity, not licensed dispensaries who are following the rules. With over 66,000 customers visiting Port Hueneme dispensaries every month, the areas around these businesses have remained safe and clean. “In spite of the demand and attention driven by the current pandemic and numerous other challenges, I am proud of the men and women of the Port Hueneme Police Department for their continued dedication to this community and their ability to adapt to the extraordinary circumstances in 2020. Their level of professionalism while working at the highest level to hold dangerous offenders accountable for their actions shall be commended,” said Chief Salinas.