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Crime, accidents increase in state parks

August 10, 2004|Christopher Reynolds

Crime and accident rates at California state parks are up in recent years, a new state report shows.

Reported crimes per capita, mostly flat from 1997 to 2000, rose significantly in 2001 and 2002. For 2002, researchers estimated 9.62 crimes per 100,000 visitors.

The report also shows that the rate of traffic accidents within parks doubled from 1997 to 2002, resulting in an estimated 1.22 accidents per 100,000 visitors.

The findings, part of a park system Performance Management Report released July 19, are based on information gathered in 2002.

State parks department spokesman Roy Stearns says the leading cause of arrest was driving under the influence of alcohol, followed by outstanding warrants, public intoxication, possession of a controlled substance and domestic violence. Less-serious citations: entering closed areas, speeding and letting pets off leashes.

The report also found that since 1996 visitors are increasingly dissatisfied with facilities, programming, learning opportunities, activities for children and access for people with disabilities.

-- Christopher Reynolds

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