Pubdate: Sat, 29 May 2004
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2004 Record Searchlight - The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Christina Lucarotti,


Popularity of meth, pot may be fueling increase in burglary

RED BLUFF -- Major crime in Tehama County climbed during 2003 with assault,
theft and burglary jumping to the highest levels in five years, according to
the Sheriff Department's annual report.

Sheriff Clay Parker said the crime rate could reflect a number of other
problems such as fewer officers on the street because of budget cuts, hard
economic times and drug use.

"Drugs are probably the number one problem (because) other crimes stem from
that," Parker said. In Tehama County, methamphetamine and marijuana are the
most commonly used drugs.

Assaults increased the most,going from 421 in 2002 to 553 in 2003.

There were 111 more thefts in 2003 than 2002, with a total of 439.

Burglaries reached 303, 37 more than in 2002.

Robberies increased by two, totaling six in 2003, but remained below the
five-year high of seven in 2000.

No homicides were reported for the first time in five years.

Parker said the Rolling Hills Casino has had little impact on the county's
crime thus far, although he recently publicly opposed a second casino in
Tehama County, saying that crime would go up.

Deputies have been called to the Rolling Hills Casino an average of once or
twice every two weeks, he said.

The success stories from 2003 included the county's Drug Abuse Resistance
Education program, the sheriff said.

The program was almost canceled because of budget cuts but the Tehama County
Department of Education volunteered to pay a deputy to teach D.A.R.E.
curriculum on his days off, Parker said.

Deputy Jason Moore taught 300 students in three of the county's schools.

The Sheriff's Team of Active Retired Seniors (S.T.A.R.S.) donated 10,000
hours to the department. Search and rescue volunteers worked 1,500 hours,
and Reserve Deputy Sheriffs donated more than $70,000 worth of work, the
sheriff said.

"The level of service the citizens would get from the department would be
totally reduced (without volunteers), Parker said.

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Tehama County major crimes

The Sheriff's Department's annual report for 2003 showed an increase in
assaults, thefts, burglaries and robberies. Here are last year's numbers:

Homicide: zero; down two from 2002

Rape: five; unchanged from 2002

Burglary: 303; up 37 from 2002

Robbery: Six; up two from 2002

Assault: 553; up 132 from 2002

Theft: 439; up 111 from 2002
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