Violent crimes have declined significantly in East Palo Alto this year, with homicides dropping by 43 percent and shootings down 51 percent, according to a statistical crime report released by the police department Friday.
Overall, crime dropped 17 percent in the period of January to October, compared to 2009. The city has also seen a 27 percent decline in overall crime for the month of October compared to last year, according to the report.
The city had four homicides during the 10 months of 2010 compared to seven for the same period in 2009. Robberies are down 36 percent, assaults are down 24 percent and assaults with a firearm have plummeted 51 percent, according to the report.
Rape is the only violent crime that increased during January through October, up 25 percent, with 15 incidents compared to 12 for the year 2009 to date, the report noted.
East Palo Alto police Chief Ronald Davis credited the crime drop to ongoing programs, such as the parole re-entry program and collaborations between the police department and the community.
"All of that is coming together. We're going beyond arrests to working on the causes of crime. It's starting to have an impact," he said.
Among non-violent crimes, vehicle theft is the only other crime category on the rise, going up 13 percent. Burglaries dropped 14 percent and larcenies dropped 24 percent during the 10-month period compared to 2009.
For the month of October, total crime dropped 27 percent compared with 2009, with no homicides, no rapes and a 100 percent drop in assaults with a firearm. Of all categories for October, only vehicle theft went up 53 percent.
But Davis said he is cautiously optimistic. "A lot of the root causes remain," he said, noting that the city's four homicides this year are still four too many.
But the community can pause at the moment and recognize how far it has come, he said.