Crime Stats and Politics in the Sacramento Mayor's Race

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A brand-new Fargo campaign mailer has the word “progress” blazed across the top.  “In the last year, we’ve reduced crime,” it says. Murder is down more than 20 percent.  Robbery’s down 8 percent.  And so on.
Fargo: “I think most people in Sacramento feel better about their neighborhoods.  I think most people feel safer.” 
That was Fargo speaking on Friday, just after her State of the City address.  Now, compare that to what her rival, Oak Park developer Kevin Johnson, had to say one day earlier: on Thursday, as he picked up the endorsement from the Sacramento Police Officers Association.
Johnson: “Over the last seven years, crime has went up.  Violent crime has went up 65 percent.  And assault has went up 90 percent.” 
Well, according to Sacramento Police Department figures, they’re both right.  Crime did go down from 2006 to 2007.  But it’s up since Fargo took office in 2000.  Therefore, murder did drop 20 percent last year like Fargo says; and violent crime has gone up 65 percent over the last seven years, as Johnson says.
Not surprisingly, both campaigns say their timeframe is more relevant.  Fargo says the city and its new police chief are addressing the problem; Johnson says more should have been done, sooner.