Berkeley Police Department to present midyear crime report to City Council

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In the first half of 2015, Berkeley police responded to more Part One violent crimes and property crimes compared with in the first half of the previous year.

According to the midyear crime report, which will be presented to Berkeley City Council during a special meeting Tuesday, Berkeley Police Department reported a 23 percent overall increase in Part One crimes in the first six months of this year compared with in the first half of last year.

In the report, BPD described 2015 as a “challenging year” for law enforcement. Aside from homicides, of which there were none in the first half of this year, the report found increases from 2014 in all other Part One violent crimes: robbery, rape and aggravated assault.

The report said BPD’s goal was to reduce the level of Part One crimes that was experienced in 2014, which was the lowest level in 50 years. In the first half of 2015, however, numerous jurisdictions across the state have experienced increases in those kinds of crimes.

Part One property crimes  — among them burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson — increased by 21 percent overall from the previous year, the report found. Residential burglaries increased by 86 percent, while commercial burglaries decreased by 19 percent.

The police department said the increase in robberies appeared to have begun in late 2014. There were 165 robberies during the first half of 2015 compared with 108 in the previous year.

There were 17 reported rapes in the first half of this year compared with the 14 reported cases in the same period during 2014. The FBI implemented a revised Uniform Crime Reports definition of sexual assault in January, which resulted in nationwide increases in reports of sexual assaults, the report said.

Of the city’s 17 reported rapes, nine of them would not have been recorded under the previous Uniform Crime Reports definition, according to the report.

The department additionally included in the report strategies for continued crime prevention, including collaborations with UCPD on rape-awareness education and a “bait bike” program to curb bicycle theft.

Alex Barreira is an assistant news editor. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @abarreira_dc.