I read with concern the article "Crime Report Shows Drop in County's Larger Cities" (Sept. 9) regarding crime statistics for the largest Ventura County cities reported during the first half of 1998.
According to the California Crime Index statistics you reported, Oxnard's overall crime rate for the first half of the year increased 2.6%.
It may be puzzling to your readers why these statistics are different from the statistics reported in July, which show the crime rate in Oxnard actually declined 5.2% during the first half of 1998.
The reason for the confusion is due to differences between the way the federal government and the state government track these numbers.
The California Crime Index consists of only violent crime and property crime while the federal method, which provides a more complete picture, includes these categories plus larceny thefts.
Using the federal guidelines the crime rate in Oxnard declined 5.2%.
In fact, Oxnard registered the sharpest decline of the four largest Ventura County cities.
While this substantial decline in the crime rate is great news for Oxnard residents, I believe a more long-term view of crime in Oxnard is more telling.
The facts are that Oxnard has experienced a dramatic decrease in its crime rate over the past five years. Crime has declined nearly 30% per capita in Oxnard--one of the largest drops in the state.
Oxnard has been recognized nationally for its community policing and these efforts have paid off handsomely. Many of Oxnard's successes have been profiled in the national media, including stories on CNN, ABC's "Prime Time Live" with Sam Donaldson and a Walter Cronkite documentary, "Victory Over Violence."
Oxnard's crime rate is at a 30-year low and is now among the 25% lowest in the nation among cities over 100,000 population.
Your readers should know that we will continue working with our residents to lower the crime rate in Oxnard year by year.
Oxnard residents should be proud of their police department and what has been accomplished by working in unison with the community.
Community Affairs Manager
Oxnard Police Department