Between January and June 2018, crime in Vista was down from 18.31 to 18 percent as compared to last year, according to Police Capt. Greg Rylaarsdam of the Vista Sheriff’s Station. Rylaarsdam provided a Vista Station update during the Aug. 14 Vista City Council Meeting.
“I’m excited that the numbers are that low. I hope that we can get them lower, or at least keep them at that level,” Rylaarsdam said. “It goes to show you the work that’s being done by the staff to make the city safe, and to make Vista a safe community — again, this is a historic low for us.”
Rylaarsdam also shared crime-rate breakdowns to see how Vista compared to other agencies in North County from SANDAG’s 2017 “Thirty-Eight Years of Crime in the San Diego Region” report.
While Vista showed a combined total of 18.31 percent for property and violent crimes, Carlsbad was at 21.59 percent, San Marcos at 14.15 percent, Escondido at 21 percent, Oceanside at 27.1 percent, Encinitas at 16.55 percent and Del Mar at 36.77 percent.
Rylaarsdam credited Vista’s lower percentage rate in comparison with other North County cities because of its policing strategies to target prolific offenders.
“We keep track of releases from jail,” he said. “We monitor people that are on probation and parole. We monitor crime trends using our crime analysis folks. We monitor crime trends, and when we see that there’s something that appears to be spiking, we look for who we believe may be responsible for those things.”
Rylaarsdam went on to say that if those individuals are on probation or parole, law enforcement visits them to ensure they are complying with the terms and conditions of their probation and/or parole. While these visits are a reminder to individuals, law enforcement is also making sure people aren’t reoffending and committing crime again, he said.
“Countywide we’ve seen that using information with policing has really benefited us when we go to combat crime,” Rylaarsdam said.
Councilman Joe Green thanked Rylaarsdam for the report and wanted to know why the rate of calls for the Sheriff’s Department in Vista has increased even as the crime rate has decreased. He wanted more clarification on this point because at first glance it looked contradictory.
Rylaarsdam said that calls for service aren’t an explicit representation for crime rates.
“We respond to lots of calls for service that don’t actually result in crime,” he said. “When we get a call about disturbing the peace, or a neighbor calls and says they’re having a problem with a party down the street, those don’t all become reports that are reflected in crime stats. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not out spending a considerable amount of time on those types of calls.”
Rylaarsdam also pointed out how studies have shown that persons who commit crimes do have a likelihood of reoffending so part of mitigating this is having regular interaction.
“When we have access to them through probation and/or parole, we do maintain contact with those folks to ensure that they’re complying with their conditions,” Rylaarsdam said. “Studies show that if they comply with their conditions and they continue to comply with their conditions that they may not reoffend down the line. So, we try to encourage folks to behave lawfully.”