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Santa Clarita Crime Rate Steady; Lancaster Drops

November 12, 1998|MICHAEL BAKER

Serious crime rose slightly in Santa Clarita in the first nine months of the year, but registered a double-digit decline in Lancaster, authorities said Wednesday.

Compared with the January-through-September period a year ago, the number of serious crimes in Santa Clarita rose a scant 0.2%, while declining 15.6% in Lancaster, according to statistics released by the Santa Clarita and Lancaster sheriff's stations.

Serious crimes are defined as crimes against people--murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault--and property crimes--burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson.

While the percentages indicate opposite trends in the two cities, which have roughly equal populations, Santa Clarita had only half as many serious criminal incidents as Lancaster.

Santa Clarita, rated America's fourth-safest large city by the FBI, had 2,231 incidents--an increase of four over last year--while Lancaster had 4,227 serious crimes, 780 fewer than in 1997.

Officials in Santa Clarita pointed out that, while the number of crimes increased ever so slightly, the population has also increased since last year.

A precise figure was not available, but the state Department of Finance said the city has about 145,000 residents.

In the first nine months of the year, Santa Clarita had 395 crimes against people, 63 fewer than last year; and 1,836 property crimes, 67 more than last year. There were five murders.

In Lancaster, there were 1,033 crimes against people, 156 fewer than last year; and 3,194 crimes against property, a decline of 624. There were seven murders.

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