Sheriff Reports Crime Decrease in 2023 with Some Categories Ranked the Lowest in Ten Years

Santa Barbara Sheriff (Edhat)

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has released the 2023 crime statistics for the communities it serves.

Throughout the year, the Sheriff’s Office compiles information about crimes occurring within the communities it serves. For the purposes tracking, reports are broken down into two major categories: Part 1 crimes, which are the most serious in nature, and Part 2 crimes, which include a number of lesser criminal offenses and some juvenile status offenses.

Part 1 crimes are further broken down into two subcategories: violent crimes and property crimes. Part 1 violent crimes are offenses that involve force or a threat of force and include criminal homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Part 1 property crimes are theft-related offenses that do not involve threats or force against the victim, including burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft.

“We in the Sheriff’s Office are pleased to report a significant decrease in Part 1 crimes in those areas of the county that are served by the Sheriff’s Office, including all unincorporated areas and the contract cities of Carpinteria, Goleta, Buellton, and Solvang.  These overall Part 1 crimes, which include both violent and property crimes, decreased from 2,679 in 2022 to 2,225 in 2023, a reduction of 16.9%.  I am immensely proud of the many contributions the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office have made during 2023 that helped keep the peace and that made our communities safe” said Sheriff Bill Brown.  “The overall Part 1 crime total was the lowest it has been during the past 10 years.  That is a remarkable accomplishment given the challenges that have been faced this past year, including the proliferation of fentanyl in our communities and the related surge in overdose deaths.”

Graph of Part 1 Crimes in Santa Barbara County from 2014-2023 (courtesy)
Graph of Part 1 Crimes in Santa Barbara County from 2014-2023 (courtesy)

After experiencing a few years of fluctuating crime rates, the communities served by the Sheriff’s Office experienced a decrease in overall Part 1 crimes, from 2,679 incidents in 2022 to 2,225 in 2023, marking a reduction of approximately 16.9%. Violent crimes did inch upwards from 356 incidents in 2022 to 377 in 2023, an increase of 5.9%.  The most significant decreases in violent crime, as compared to 2022, occurred in homicide (67% decrease from 2022) and rape (13% decrease from 2022). Robbery incidents saw a slight increase (2% increase from 2022), while aggravated assaults increased more significantly (10% from 2022).

Part 1 property crimes decreased from 2,324 incidents in 2022 to 1,848 in 2023, a 20% decrease. Statistically significant decreases in Part 1 property crime, when compared to last year, were seen in burglary (27% decrease from 2022), larceny-theft (20% decrease from 2022), and motor vehicle theft (2% increase from 2022). Arson cases also saw a decrease (52% decrease from 2022).

Moving to Part 2 crimes, there was a notable decrease overall from the previous year. Total Part 2 crimes decreased from 6,871 in 2022 down to 6,449 in 2023, reflecting a reduction of about 6.1%. Several areas observed significant reductions: Weapons crimes were reduced from 121 in 2022 to 93 in 2023, marking a 23.1% reduction. Drug-related offenses decreased from 907 in 2022 to 830 in 2023, reflecting an 8.5% decrease. Liquor laws violations saw a count of 521 in 2022, which slightly increased to 573 in 2023, still showing a reduction from the 1,092 recorded in 2021.

Other categories also demonstrated notable changes. Drunkenness decreased from 292 in 2022 to 230 in 2023, translating to a 21.2% reduction. Vandalism incidents were reduced from 620 in 2022 to 551 in 2023, a decrease of 11.1%. Simple Assault incidents decreased from 1,225 in 2022 to 1,133 in 2023, marking an 8% reduction. These trends indicate a positive movement toward reduced criminal activities in several key categories, potentially reflecting enhanced enforcement and community engagement strategies implemented by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office is honored to provide policing services for the cities of Buellton, Carpinteria, Goleta, and Solvang, as well as all the unincorporated areas of the County. The Sheriff’s Office attributes its effectiveness in maintaining public safety within each of these areas to ongoing collaboration with city councils, the board of supervisors, and the individual communities it serves. The Sheriff’s Office is committed to working with all stakeholders to address negative crime trends that arise.

Here are the Part 1 crime rates for 2023, broken down by contract city, Isla Vista, or Unincorporated area, compared to the previous year:

Buellton

In Buellton, crime statistics from 2022 to 2023 indicate a decrease across multiple categories. Overall, Part 1 crimes decreased from 99 incidents in 2022 to 74 in 2023, representing a reduction of approximately 25.3%.

Violent crimes saw a notable decrease, moving from 6 incidents in 2022 to 3 in 2023, a reduction of 50%. This includes aggravated assaults, which remained stable at 2 incidents in both 2022 and 2023, and robberies, which decreased from 3 incidents in 2022 to 1 in 2023.

Property crimes also declined, with totals decreasing from 93 incidents in 2022 to 71 in 2023, a drop of 23.7%. Specific categories like burglary decreased from 10 incidents in 2022 to 9 in 2023, and larceny-theft dropped from 65 to 49. Motor vehicle thefts saw a decrease from 18 incidents in 2022 to 13 in 2023.

Carpinteria

In Carpinteria, crime statistics from 2022 to 2023 reveal a mixed trend across various categories. Overall, Part 1 crimes increased from 201 incidents in 2022 to 218 in 2023, representing an 8.5% increase.

Violent crimes saw a significant decrease, dropping from 32 incidents in 2022 to 21 in 2023, a reduction of approximately 34.4%. This decrease includes a reduction in aggravated assaults, which fell from 26 incidents in 2022 to 18 in 2023. However, rape incidents increased from 0 in 2022 to 2 in 2023.

Property crimes showed an upward trend, with totals increasing from 169 incidents in 2022 to 197 in 2023, a rise of 16.6%. This category includes a significant increase in larceny-theft, which rose from 140 incidents in 2022 to 160 in 2023, and motor vehicle theft, which increased from 16 incidents in 2022 to 18 in 2023. Burglary incidents also saw an increase, from 9 in 2022 to 19 in 2023.

Goleta

In Goleta, crime statistics from 2022 to 2023 indicate a decrease in overall crime. Part 1 crimes decreased from 601 incidents in 2022 to 533 in 2023, representing an 11.3% reduction.

Violent crimes saw an increase, rising from 49 incidents in 2022 to 56 in 2023, a 14.3% increase. This includes a slight increase in aggravated assaults, which went from 36 incidents in 2022 to 37 in 2023, and rape, which increased from 3 to 6. Robbery incidents also increased from 9 in 2022 to 12 in 2023.

Property crimes showed a significant decrease, with totals dropping from 552 incidents in 2022 to 477 in 2023, a reduction of 13.6%. This category includes a decrease in burglary, which fell from 88 incidents in 2022 to 65 in 2023, and larceny-theft, which dropped from 422 incidents in 2022 to 362 in 2023. However, motor vehicle thefts increased from 33 incidents in 2022 to 46 in 2023.

Isla Vista

In Isla Vista, crime statistics from 2022 to 2023 have shown a decrease across several categories. Overall, Part 1 crimes decreased from 256 incidents in 2022 to 233 in 2023, representing a reduction of approximately 9%.

Violent crimes saw a slight increase, moving from 35 incidents in 2022 to 37 in 2023, an increase of about 5.7%. This includes an uptick in aggravated assaults, from 20 in 2022 to 26 in 2023.

Property crimes continued to decline, with totals decreasing from 221 incidents in 2022 to 196 in 2023, a drop of 11.3%. Specific categories like burglary decreased from 44 incidents in 2022 to 39 in 2023, and larceny-theft dropped from 174 to 154. However, motor vehicle theft saw an increase from 1 incident in 2022 to 2 in 2023.

Solvang

In Solvang, crime statistics from 2022 to 2023 reveal a significant decrease in overall crime. Overall, Part 1 crimes decreased from 86 incidents in 2022 to 57 in 2023, representing a 33.7% reduction.

Violent crimes saw a substantial decrease, dropping from 14 incidents in 2022 to 5 in 2023, a reduction of approximately 64.3%. This includes a decrease in aggravated assaults, which fell from 11 incidents in 2022 to 4 in 2023, and rape incidents, which decreased from 2 to 0.

Property crimes also declined, with totals decreasing from 72 incidents in 2022 to 52 in 2023, a drop of 27.8%. This category includes a significant decrease in larceny-theft, which fell from 52 incidents in 2022 to 42 in 2023, and burglary, which dropped from 14 incidents in 2022 to 6 in 2023. Motor vehicle thefts were reduced by half with a decrease from 6 incidents in 2022 to 3 in 2023.

Unincorporated areas (excluding Isla Vista)

In unincorporated areas, excluding Isla Vista, crime statistics from 2022 to 2023 reveal nuanced shifts in various crime categories. Overall, Part 1 crimes saw a reduction, decreasing from 1,436 incidents in 2022 to 1,110 in 2023, marking a 22.7% decrease.

Violent crimes, however, moved in the opposite direction, increasing from 220 incidents in 2022 to 255 in 2023, a rise of approximately 15.9%. This increase includes significant rises in specific categories: robberies escalated from 23 incidents in 2022 to 27 in 2023, and aggravated assaults increased from 174 to 209 incidents over the same period.

Property crimes decreased notably, with a drop from 1,216 incidents in 2022 to 855 in 2023, a 29.7% decrease. This category includes a decline in burglaries, which fell from 246 in 2022 to 164 in 2023, and larceny-theft, which decreased from 931 to 660. Motor vehicle theft remained relatively stable with a slight decrease from 33 incidents in 2022 to 27 in 2023. Arson cases also decreased, from 6 incidents in 2022 to 4 in 2023.

Click here to see the full graphs of the 2023 Crime Rates by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff

sbsheriff

Written by sbsheriff

Press releases written by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

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17 Comments

  1. Lies, damn lies, and statistics! Of course, the Sheriff cherry-picks the statistics and spins them in a way that makes him look good. There are other ways of looking at the crime statistics. For example, the Violent Crime Total in all jurisdictions went up 26% from 2019 to 2023 (299 vs 377). The Sheriff didn’t mention that!

  2. Here’s a “Fun Fact” about the SB County Sheriff’s Dept… They INCREASED their contract costs for Carp, Goleta, Buelltion and Solvang by 44%…. Forty-four Percent. YET, they state that they (Sheriff’s Dept) can no longer afford the cost of Investigating PROPERTY CRIMES… Let me restate that- A “LAW ENFORCEMMENT AGENCY” DOES NOT INVESTIGATE PROPERTY CRIMES…! They also do not enforce traffic laws pertaining to speeding unless the contract cities pay EXTRA for a “Certified” Motorcop…

        • COAST – That’s just not true at all. Pretty sure some cop in SYV saying that (even if that actually happened) is not doing anything but trying to instill fear in the populace, just like all the GOP leaders try to do.

          Facts are not a strongpoint. Fear sells and gets votes. When will you folks get that?

          • @Sacjon-Watch YouTube Solvang City Council Meeting for May 28th, minutes 1:13:14 into the meeting… THE LT. STATES THEY “NO LONGER HAVE PROPERTY CRIME INVESTIGATORS…” Is that PROOF of Facts for you…? Are you the Editor of information? Are we to take everything you spew on this site as FACTS…? LMAO!

          • COAST – I don’t think you’re lying that he said that. I’m sure he did. But…. it doesn’t make it true. I hear cops saying that stuff all the time and it’s just politicized fear tactics. Remember when cops would come to your school and tell you that marijuana was addictive? LOL yeah sorry man, not taking some SYV cop’s rants as facts.

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