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Crime falls in Ventura County

August 02, 2007|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

The creation of a gang unit was credited with a 21% decline in violent crime during the first six months of the year in the unincorporated areas and five cities patrolled by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

"They've been very effective and very, very busy," said Sheriff's Capt. Ron Nelson, noting that the gang unit stepped up enforcement in mid-June, conducting parole violation inspections and drivers license checkpoints that resulted in 49 arrests.

"The majority of the arrests were for drug-related offenses," Nelson said. "We got a lot of gang members off the street."

In addition to overseeing the unincorporated areas, the Sheriff's Department contracts to provide services to Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai and Thousand Oaks.

Violent crime -- which includes homicides, rapes, robberies, burglaries, vehicle theft, grand theft and arson -- was down throughout the sheriff's jurisdiction. The biggest drop was in aggravated assaults, which fell from 240 to 185, representing a 23% decline that helped lower all violent crime statistics.

Overall, violent crime was down 21% in Camarillo, 27% in Ojai, 42% in Moorpark and 20% in Thousand Oaks. Unincorporated areas saw a 21% drop.

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greg.griggs@latimes.com

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