Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Crime Drops in Perris for Fourth Year in a Row

Major crime in Perris plunged almost 11 percent in 2010 and law enforcement officials are crediting the drop to an innovative approach developed and implemented by Police Chief Jim McElvain and his staff.

Last year’s trend continues a decline of nearly 30 percent that began in 2007 and continues despite a deep and long-lasting economic recession that forced the City to trim its police budget by nearly $1 million.

McElvain announced the 2010 Perris crime statistics at the City Council meeting to the delight of municipal policy makers, who praised the department as a whole, its uniformed officers and volunteers for the dedication and results.

In particular, they lauded the chief and the Perris Police Department for creating the policy of “zoned-policing,” which includes examining reports of criminal incidents on a weekly basis and putting officers “when and where crime occurs.”

McElvain, who has earned a PhD in sociology while working in Perris, has been reluctant to take credit for previous declines in major crimes, which include murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft, larceny and arson.
But after four years of declining crimes, he told the City Council that he believes it is time for the police department to “take a little credit for the decline.”

“I feel somewhat comfortable that zone policing has caused some effect on the crime decrease,” he said.
Crime in all major categories fell or remained the same in 2010. Major crimes include murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft, larceny and arson. Last year, the City of Perris recorded a 25 percent decrease in the number of murders, a 26.5 percent reduction in aggravated assaults, a 10.5 drop in burglaries, a 10.1 drop in auto thefts and a 7.2 percent drop in larcenies.

All total, the City’s crime rate fell by 10.9 percent. Since 2007, crime in Perris has plunged 29 percent.
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch hailed the drop in crime and congratulated the Police Department for a job well done. The Mayor said he is most impressed with the fact that he has never received a complaint from a City resident about overly aggressive police officers in Perris.

“That shows we are doing the job and doing it the right way,” Busch said. “I am really proud of our police department.”
Other City Council members noted that the department’s Zone Policing concept makes a real difference in Perris.
“I commend the work you are doing,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Joanne Evans.

Perris Police were busy in 2010 Officers responded to 45,637 calls for service and wrote 9,158 reports, including 900 felony and 2,208 misdemeanor incidents. The Special Enforcement Team made 497 felony arrests, conducted 1,196 field interviews and 300 to 400 probation searches.  They wrote 8,757 traffic citations, investigated 98 injury and six fatal traffic collisions. Perris Police officers put in 52,000 hours of patrol in 2010, driving 375,000 miles in the process.
City Councilwoman Rita Rogers said the department achieved startling results despite a reduction in its budget.

“In this tough economic time, the City Council has had to make cuts it did not want to make,” she said. “The department is taking less and still getting great results.”

City Councilman Al Landers praised the department’s volunteers, who performed 5,000 hours of service for the police in 2010. Volunteers from the Perris Citizens Patrol work at City parades, assist at DUI checkpoints and make up the department’s mounted posse, which also takes part in parades and other City functions. McElvain said the department is “tremendously grateful for our volunteers,” singling out the late Bob Hayes for special mention. Mr. Hayes, a longtime police supporter who was named the department’s Volunteer of the Year in 2009, died in December.

“Our volunteers make us special,” Landers said. “I am so proud of them.”

City Councilman Mark Yarbrough said that a decrease in crime of three or four percent would be considering exceptional in most departments. Perris more than doubled that drop. He said the Perris Police Department deserves great praise for its creative approach to crime-solving. That approach includes working with the Citizens Patrol, weekly analysis of criminal activity the Zone Policing method of responding to criminal incidents.

“We figure out where the problems are and deal with them accordingly,” Yarbrough said.