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[whitespace] Domestic violence increases in Saratoga

Saratoga--In 2000, crime in Saratoga decreased in almost every category and dipped overall, although more cases of domestic violence were reported from the previous year.

While burglaries only decreased slightly between 1999 and 2000, from 84 to 83, stolen vehicle cases dropped about 19 percent, from 21 to 17, and thefts diminished by almost 20 percent, from 247 to 198 said Deputy Pete Evangel of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

But despite the decrease in major felonies, overall, homicides rose from zero to one, while assaults increased about 14 percent, from 84 to 96. Rapes grew by two-thirds, from three to five, and robberies doubled, from two to four, according to Evangel.

The number of reports of domestic violence also increased by about 30.6 percent, from 36 to 47, said Capt. Jeff Miles of the Westside Substation. However, this is probably due to educational programs and support groups, which use the mass media to educate the public about reporting incidents of domestic violence, Miles said.

The other incorporated areas covered by the Westside Substation also saw decreases in major crimes, overall and more domestic violence reports. Throughout Saratoga, Cupertino and Los Altos Hills, major crimes dropped by about 14 percent, which is the projected national average so far, Miles said, while domestic violence reports increased from 87 to 92 in Cupertino and from five to 11 in Los Altos Hills.

Misdemeanors also declined in Saratoga: Cases of driving under the influence decreased almost 24 percent, from 98 to 75, while vandalisms fell about 26 percent, from 174 to 128, according to Miles.

Miles attributed the decrease in crime to the good economy, low unemployment and the community-oriented policing effort at the sheriff's office, which refers to how the department partners with various organizations in the community in each of its programs. The programs include:

  • DARE., an elementary school program that focuses on deterring fifth- and six-graders from becoming involved in drugs and gangs

  • Neighborhood Watch, which focuses on encouraging citizens to keep their eyes on their neighbors' property and letting them know when they should call law enforcement

  • Crime prevention programs, which include a home security program

  • Personal safety program, which teaches workers how to recognize and deal with potential problems in the workplace

  • Student resource officer program, which intervenes in students' lives to prevent various issues from becoming problems

  • "Every 15 Minutes" program, which addresses drunk driving among high school students by educating them on the consequences of driving while under the influence

    The community-oriented programs "become our eyes and ears," Miles said. "They provide input, and they work on solutions to problems before they become incidents."
    Rebecca Ray

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  • Web extra to the February 22-28, 2001 issue of Metro.

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