Crime in Yolo County

Roughly 27% of Americans have a criminal record. They have been received for any number of reasons ranging from minor offenses to some of the worst crimes on the books, the United States has the most people incarcerated per percentage of population of any developed country. As the criminal justice system as a whole begins to reform and re-evaluate the current techniques used for crime and punishment, many states are worried about potential increases in crime.

California is no exception. Currently at its lowest crime rates since 1967, California has made great strides over half a century to reduce crime rates statewide. With the rate as low as 397 per 100,000 residents, California is not without its trouble spots. With unique problems developing in every county of this state, it is significantly more helpful to address crime issues on a county-by-county basis.

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With this in mind, lets take a moment to examine the crime issues in Yolo County, California. With the county seat being the city of Woodland and a population of just over 200,000 people, this northern California county, known for producing 90% of all canned tomato sauce in the US, has its own unique problems when it comes to crime.

The Rise in Methamphetamines

Immediately to the west of the capital city of Sacramento, Yolo County has a unique mix of country and city living. With demographics more evenly distributed as well as wealth, Yolo is not at particular risk for certain crimes that normally take place when poverty is centered on a single location. However, just like cities and rural communities across the nation, there has been a noticeable rise in methamphetamine usage.

Thought to be brought on by an over prescription of pain medication by doctors across the United States, many people who are taken off their coverage and who cannot continue to afford pain killers legally or otherwise, end up turning to other cheaper drugs to get the same reaction. Meth has helped to fill this consumer need, resulting in an incredible rise or reported cases as well as overdoses. Commissioner Janene Beronio of Yolo County recently spoke about the prevalence of meth cases rising in the area. In addition, there is no particular age, ethnicity, or gender using the drug. Spread throughout the community, meth is a widespread and equal opportunity destroyer, ruining people’s lives, destroying their ability to function in society, and leading them on a one-way course into the criminal justice system.

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Non-Drug Related Crimes

Understanding crime in Yolo County requires breaking it down based on property related crime and violent crime. As a whole, crime in general has been going up slightly over the past decade. This is because the number of property crimes has gradually been increasing. At the same time, the number of violent crimes has been getting lower and lower. To put it simply, while the chance of your car being stolen may increase, your chance of being physically or otherwise bodily harmed has continued to get smaller and smaller every year.

When looking at the date for the past decade, more then half of the crimes reported are theft related (30,997.)   The next two most common crimes include burglary at 13,164 and auto theft at 7,633. Assault, arson, murder, rape, and robbery make up less then ¼ of total crimes in Yolo County. DUI offense have long troubled Yolo County. Yolo County DUI Attorney Michael Rehm believes ridesharing operations like Uber and Lyft will eventually cut down on these crimes as well.

Comparison to Surrounding Counties

Yolo has a slightly higher total crime and violent crime rate then other counties in the area. Beaten out only by Merced and Madera in violent crime, Yolo is considered safer then Imperial as well, which has a much higher property crime rate. El Dorado, Napa, Kings, Madera, Shasta, Butte, and Humboldt all have less total crime then Yolo County. While it may be high when compared to surrounding counties, Yolo County does significantly better when compared to cities and the counties surrounding them. Compared to areas around the Bay Area as well as Los Angeles, Yolo County has a much better crime rate then these counties when compared to the total population.

Current Trends and Future Predictions for Yolo County, California

As covered above, the rate of violent crimes in Yolo County are going down gradually with every year. There has been a steady drop beginning in 2004 and extending to what current data is available. At the same time, property crime has been increasing with every year, gradually inching up. The end result for total crime in Yolo County is that it is either not budging or slowly getting higher. Given that more and more people are flocking to the county just east of Sacramento, it is easy to see the increase of total crime reports as nothing more then an increase in the total population of the county. As the population begins to even out it will be interesting to see if the crime rate continues to gradually increase, stay the same, or reverse. Given trends across California, there is a chance that it will reverse.

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