We are getting a first look at last year’s crime statistics for the City of Grover Beach.
The police department’s 2022 crime report was presented at Monday night’s city council meeting.
The City of Grover Beach saw a drop in violent crime last year after there was an increase in 2021, but crime levels are still higher than in years past.
The Grover Beach Police Department dealt with 383 serious crimes in 2022.
That’s down from 404 in 2021 but still higher than 221 back in 2020.
“I would hope that they could address the issues at hand that are really important with urgency,” said Grover Beach Resident Courtney Opley.
The declining numbers in the 2022 report include violent crime as well as robberies, break-ins, and theft.
“We credit the drop with a lot more proactive policing. We had a few more officers that were on duty,” explained Grover Beach Police Chief John Peters.
Proactive policing means having officers out on patrol as much as possible, which allows them to become familiar with neighborhoods and recognize when something’s off.
“With that information, the officer can see what’s out of place after they’ve patrolled it for a while,” said Chief Peters. “They tend to know what cars belong in the neighborhood, what cars do not.”
2022 saw 18 assaults. four robberies and four cases of rape.
Property crimes were much higher with 230 reports of theft, 57 burglaries, 18 stolen cars, and three arson investigations.
The city’s police chief says these numbers are on a downward trend despite more calls for service.
“We’re fortunate. We have a small community with 2.25 square miles but over the last three years, we’ve been able to reduce our response to crimes,” said Peters.
According to the report, it only takes an average of 1:48 for an officer to arrive after you call the police.
That’s down 13 seconds from 2021.
“Originally when I became chief, I wanted response times to be under three minutes. We slowly got them under three minutes and now, we’re under two minutes which is fantastic,” said Peters.
“I think that the officers do their best,” adds Opley, who says she is less concerned about crime but much more concerned about the rising cost of living.
“I’m not as concerned as I am about the environment that’s being created because of the rising cost to live,” she said. “With the prices being so high to even just survive, I just feel like there’s a lot of homelessness and a lot of poverty and it’s getting worse.”
She is concerned about people being driven to desperate measures as they struggle with poverty.
“I know that the cost of living compared to what we get paid-- your everyday job is just not adding up,” said Opley.
The Grover Beach Police Department is looking to hire five new officers to keep crime numbers down.