SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has released its 2016 crime statistics.
The crime report is for unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County, as well as the cities of Buellton, Carpinteria, Goleta and Solvang. It shows both violent crimes and property crimes are on the rise.
In 2016 there were 348 violent crimes, this is 11 more than the year before. Violent crimes in this category include criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
Taking a closer look at the numbers; homicides increased from two to four and the most notable increase was forcible rape. There were 56 rapes in 2016 and the majority of them were reported in Isla Vista.
"We are trying to determine right now whether the number of instances has actually gone up or if people's awareness and willingness to report has gone up. We are working with IV Safe and the university through our people on the foot patrol to launch some education and sexual assault awareness campaigns and we will continue to do that," said Santa Barbara County Undersheriff Barney Melekian.
In 2016 there were more than 2,534 reported property crimes, as opposed to 2,481 in 2015. The greatest increase was in thefts from cars, with a 15 percent increase county wide.
"Lock your car. It is amazing how many of those thefts people left their cars unlocked or secondly left valuable things such as laptop computers, phones sitting out in plain view. Those two simple things have been proven to reduce thefts from auto dramatically," said Undersheriff Melekian.
The good news is there was an 11% decrease in Part 2 Crimes which include the categories of fraud, weapons violations, sex offenses, and drug and alcohol related offenses.
Click here to read the full crime stats as released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.