Saratoga is seeing some progress in combating the crimes of simple and aggravated assaults and grand theft. However, residential burglaries increased in 2012.
Home break-ins jumped from 53 cases in 2011 to 59 in 2012, according to data released this week by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department.
There was also an increase of four commercial burglaries, from 13 in 2011 to 17 in 2012, the data showed.
The number of vehicle burglaries increased by five, with 46 reported burglaries in 2011 to 51 in 2012.
On the positive side, the number of grand thefts decreased by three in 2012, with 38 reported in 2011. Also, the number of auto thefts dropped by four in 2012, with 12 reported in 2011.
“The sheriff’s office is very actively patrolling the city of Saratoga,” said Santa Clara County sheriff’s captain Kenneth Binder.
Binder, who acts as the police chief for Saratoga and other West Valley cities, noted the decrease of auto thefts is due to the “sheriff’s office's aggressive enforcement within the city itself by responding to all calls for suspicious circumstances.”
However, vandalism continues to be on the rise, with an increase by three incidents in 2012. In 2011, 30 vandalism crimes were reported.
Identity theft, forgery and fraud are also an issue, with 60 reported in 2011 and 63 reported in 2012.
Domestic violence in Saratoga increased by three in 2012, with 16 reports in 2011.
“Domestic violence is an issue and concern for families in any populated city. Fortunately, the numbers are still low in Saratoga, but when there is such an incident, we take appropriate action according to the law,” Capt. Binder said. “We always provide resources to the victim and let them know what his or her rights are.”
The crimes of simple and aggravated assaults have dropped by five, with 16 reports in 2011 and 11 in 2012.
“Saratoga has a very low crime rate. It’s ranked No. 6 in a recent poll as the safest city in its size in United States,” Capt. Binder said. “The number (for crime) is low, whether it’s last year or last month. [Saratoga] is a safe city.”
Sex crimes have increased by two, from five in 2011 to seven in 2012.
“All crimes are taken very seriously at the sheriff’s office,” Capt. Binder said. “We have a community policing philosophy and we seek to partner with the city residents to prevent crime, respond to crime and suppress crime.”
Although data for narcotic crimes were not available in 2011, 41 crimes were reported in 2012.
“I have always felt safe in Saratoga. My husband and I raised our four sons here and never once were we fearful for their or our own safety,” Mayor Jill Hunter wrote in an email. “We are very grateful for that. I know many people in other communities do not have that luxury.”Saratoga Crimes 2011 2012 +/- from 2011 to 2012 Robbery 2 3 +1 Burglary, Residential 53 59 +6 Burglary, Commercial 13 17 +4 Burglary, Vehicle 46 51 +5 Grand Theft 38 35 -3 Auto Theft 12 8 -4 Vandalism 30 33 +3 Identity Theft, Forgery, Fraud 60 63 +3 Domestic Violence 16 19 +3 Simple & Aggravated Assaults 16 11 -5 Sex Crimes 5 7 +2 Narcotics no data 41
Editor's Note: This article was written for Saratoga Patch as part of a San Jose State University journalism class assignment. The writer welcomes your feedback and comments.