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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Rapes Rise 57% in Santa Clarita : Crime: Property offenses drop, but violent acts registered an increase, especially reported sexual assault.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The number of serious crimes reported in the Santa Clarita Valley fell 3% during the first half of 1994 compared to the same period last year. But violent offenses went up, including a 57% increase in the number of reported rapes, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials said Monday.

The latest figures indicate that law enforcement officials efforts have reduced robberies and burglaries, a major crime worry last year, said Capt. Michael Quinn of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

But he said the Northridge earthquake may have also had an impact.

“People may have been at home more . . . and that may have cut down on burglaries,” he said. “The roads were damaged, and maybe that cut down on bank robberies.”

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The six-month crime report shows decreases in:

* Robberies, down to 80 compared to 93 during the first six months of 1993.

* Burglaries, 547 compared to 578 in 1993.

* Thefts, 1,060 compared to 1,127.

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* Auto thefts, 290 compared to 292.

Increases were reported in homicides (three, compared to two last year), assaults (460, compared to 433) and rapes (22, compared to 14).

Quinn said the station is analyzing the rape figures to determine the cause of the increase.

The Santa Clarita Valley, traditionally considered one of the safest areas in the nation, has experienced growing crime during the past two years, including a substantial increase in gang activity, authorities said.

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In 1993, Santa Clarita reported the fifth fewest crimes of any U. S. city with 100,000 or more residents. But a recent study by Money magazine that divided each city’s figures by its population determined Santa Clarita’s crime rate ranked 46th out of 187 cities with 100,000 or more people.


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