Bakersfield

Crime rate continues to soar, Bakersfield cops warn lawmakers

Crime in Bakersfield is getting worse by the year. 

Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry presented a public safety update to the Bakersfield City Council Wednesday, detailing the data that shows high crime numbers from 2020 to 2021. 

In 2021, the Bakersfield Police Department recorded 18,796 violent and property crimes. That number was up from 17,617 in 2020. 

“Homicide in our community continued to rise last year,” Terry said. “In 2020 we had 45 homicides, which was an unfortunate record for our city. In 2021 that increased to 60.

Terry said Bakersfield also experienced a 30 percent increase in sexual assault and a nine percent increase in robberies. 

While crime overall is trending up, Bakersfield has not had to deal with any worse traffic issues than before, with calls for reckless driving last year coming in around 100 less than 2020. 

Overall calls for service rose significantly last year. 

In 2020, the police department received 702,849 telephone calls, 266,196 911 calls and had 240,161 dispatched incidents. 

Those numbers last year rose to 776,847 telephone calls, 292,183 911 calls and 249,359 dispatched incidents. 

With an increase in call volume, response times also rose last year, rising by over 30 seconds in some parts of the city. 

“Ultimately we know that what’s most important to our community is that when they call us that we come, and then we come quickly and that we’re skilled, have the competency and the resources available to deal with the issue that they have at that moment, whatever that issue may be,” Terry said. 

“And we’re not able to do that to the satisfaction of us and certainly of our community on a consistent basis.” 

In an average week, the Bakersfield Police Department faced the following in 2021: 

  • 14,939 calls handled by the communications center
  • 5,619 911 calls
  • 4,793 calls dispatched
  • 285 red light violations
  • 199 traffic violations
  • 109 vehicle collisions and 38 resulting in injury
  • 262 total arrests
  • 22 shot spotter activations
  • 102 auto thefts
  • 90 auto recoveries
  • 4 assaults with a firearm
  • 8 weapon violation arrests
  • 50 residential and business burglary reports

“At the end of the day we know that our community is hurting and suffering, our businesses are suffering in a variety of ways, and we’re really trying to find new solutions and partnerships that can help us deal with many of these issues that are facing our community,” Terry said. 

Terry also talked about the homelessness co-response team which deployed in January. 

The team – which consists of one officer and one mental health clinician – responds to calls for service in the field regarding the homeless, partners with existing homeless outreach teams and engages with community businesses who have experienced challenges due to chronic homelessness. 

“Their job and their focus is really trying to get to the root cause of these issues that are associated with one particular individual, or what might be attracting a large number of individuals to a particular area, and try to figure out is there a solution,” Terry said. “Something that we can do environmentally or having other partners come to the table to be able to reduce calls for service to a particular location, but also to reduce calls for service related to a particular individual.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.