Driven by an increase in robberies and more reporting of sexual assaults, violent crime rose by 8 percent in San Luis Obispo in 2018, according to statistics released by the SLO Police Department.
Both property crime and overall crime increased slightly last year. Property crime rose by 1.5 percent, and overall crime rose by 2 percent, according to the annual crime report.
The figures suggest the continuation of a trend of rising crime in San Luis Obispo. SLO has experienced an unprecedented increase in crime since 2015.
In 2015, crime in San Luis Obispo rose by 21 percent. The following year, crime increases by 11 percent.
Last year, police received 51 reports of rapes, up from 39 in 2017. There was also a 41 percent increase in reports of sexual assaults.
As a result of the MeToo movement, victims of sexual assault and rape were far more likely to report the attacks to police than in previous years, according to police.
Robberies increased from 23 in 2017 to 33 in 2018. Though aggravated assaults declined from 111 to 103, total violent crimes rose from 173 in 2017 to 187 in 2018.
No homicides occurred in SLO in either 2017 or 2018.
Among property crimes, residential burglaries increased by 56 percent in 2018. Most of the 164 total residential burglaries occurred at unlocked homes, and 43 percent of the home burglaries took place in neighborhoods surrounding the Cal Poly campus.
In 2018, police arrested 14 alleged burglars who reportedly accounted for 27 percent of the citywide burglaries.
Despite crime trending upward, Police Chief Deanna Cantrell said in a press release that her department’s efforts are yielding positive results.
“Our efforts show positive results in many areas, and we are optimistic the measures will continue to improve the safety of our city,” Cantrell said.
The SLO Police Department had numerous vacancies in 2018, and like other law enforcement agencies across the country, had difficulty recruiting lateral employees. However, the upcoming city budget will include funding for a new school resource officer and for a detective focused on marijuana-related issues.