After overall crime in San Luis Obispo rose 21 percent from 2014 to 2015 and 11 percent from 2015 to 2016, crime decreased by 13 percent in 2017, according to figures released by the police department.
Last year, the city experienced a 2 percent reduction in violent crime and a 14 percent reduction in property crime. There were totals of 171 violent crimes and 848 property crimes in 2017, compared to 177 and 989 respectively in 2016. No homicides occurred in SLO in 2016 or 2017.
The police department attributes the decrease in crime to intelligence-led policing philosophies and improved relations between law enforcement and city residents. In January 2017, the department launched two community programs: Police and Community Together (PACT) and Policing Education and Community Engagement (PEACE).
PACT is a partnership with a group representing the city’s most marginalized communities, including the Jewish, black, Latino, Muslim, LGBTQ, interfaith, students and the homeless and/or mentally ill communities. PEACE is modeled after a citizen police academy and is designed to teach community members more about policing practices and policies. Last year, officers made PEACE presentations on policing a community, use of force, body cameras, mental health and police and community resources.
This month, the department will hold a PEACE class on how to respond to an active shooter incident. The class will take place April 23 at French Hospital.
In 2017, the department also launched a Coffee with a Cop program and hired a part-time crime analyst to evaluate the department’s policing strategies and use of resources.
Throughout last year, the department continued to receive complaints about homeless behavior in downtown SLO. Officials attribute much of the behavior to substance abuse and/or mental illness.
The city plans to add a mental health workers to the police department’s Community Action Team to better address homeless issues in the downtown.