OXNARD, Calif. -- The Oxnard Police Department says the crime rate is going down, but overdoses are on the rise.
Crime is on the decline in Oxnard. Down roughly 15 percent compared to this time last year.
“The five year average of homicides has been about 13 per year, we are currently at three,” said Jason Benites, who is the Oxnard Police Chief. “We are down on homicides and we have noticed a significant drop in terms of robberies and aggravated assaults, burglaries, and auto theft.”
Police think pandemic restrictions played a role as well as officers being proactive.
“The first three months of this year we were under some restrictions, and so those restrictions had some impact on the activities in our city,” said Benites. Other things include delaying our Property Crimes Unit out into the field on a certain number of days a week, so rather than sit at the desk they are now out in the field engaging those people that we believe are responsible for a large portion of our crime picture.”
While crime is going down, drug use and overdoses are up. Last year Oxnard Police responded to 226 overdose calls, and 52 were deadly.
“When I reported to city council last Tuesday we had responded to 72, that number has adjusted upward some but that is only for the first four months of the year so we are on target for some high numbers which is unfortunate,” said Benites.
The lower crime rates also come as the department had to make major cuts, eliminating 11 sworn positions. Chief Benites is working on some changes.
“I think there is some important things that we would like to accomplish during my time here as Chief,” said Benites. “The number one is restoring some of the neighborhood policing resources that we have. I think that is a big priority. Another goal here is to restore some of the losses that we meant over the past several years through budget reductions which has resulting in personnel reductions, so I would like to see our patrol staffing get to the point where we are putting out more officers on the beat.”