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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Serious crime in Bakersfield in 2013 dropped to its third lowest level since 2006, with homicides and rapes both declining by more than 23 percent.
There was a 4.9 percent decrease in serious crime in the city compared to 2012. The rate of so-called Part 1 crimes decreased per 10,000 citizens from 555 to 521.
A total of 18,725 serious crimes were reported in 2013.
Uniform Crime Reporting statistics classify Part 1 crimes as criminal homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft. Arson is usually included in UCR statistics but Bakersfield police did not release those figures.
Last year there were 24 homicides, 10 fewer than in 2012, a 29.4 percent decrease. Twelve of the homicides were gang-related, compared to 15 a year earlier.
The 43 reported rapes in 2013 represented a 23.2 percent decrease from 2012.
Additional decreases were seen in burglary (-7.8 percent), auto theft (-7.1 percent), aggravated assault (-5.1 percent) and larceny (-2.8 percent).
The only serious crime to increase from 2012 statistics was robbery, the taking or attempting to take anything of value from a person by force or threat of force. That increased by 1.6 percent.
There was a marked increase in crime in January and February, which saw total increases in reported crimes of 18.5 percent and 15.4 percent, respectively, compared to the same months in 2012. March had a 2.2 percent increase. However, each of the next nine months had fewer reported crimes than the same 2012 time period.
The most signficant decrease occurred in August, which had a 14.2 percent drop from the year before.
The most homicides in the city occurred in January and November, with four in each month. Larceny, defined as the unlawful taking of property, led all crime with a total of 9,272 reported incidents, followed by 4,605 burglaries and 2,990 vehicle thefts.
Some crimes saw precipitous drops from one month to the next. Aggravated assaults, for instance, went from a high of 109 in October to a low of 48 in November. December continued to be low with 59 aggravated assaults.