Despite some high profile cases in the past months that have led some to worry about an increase in Mount Shasta’s crime rate, statistics do not show much fluctuation over the past five years.

Despite some high profile cases in the past months that have led some to worry about an increase in Mount Shasta’s crime rate, statistics do not show much fluctuation over the past five years.

“We have had some big cases lately,” admitted Mount Shasta Police Department Chief Parish Cross, including a home invasion, a hit and run with serious injuries and a manslaughter case. However, “the numbers show no real spikes in crime,” Cross said.

According to the MSPD’s call logs from the past five years, the number of calls for crimes including sexual assault, physical assault, residential burglary, grand theft, vandalism and 10 other categories have stayed relatively static.

The only category which appears to be slightly on the rise are mental health calls, pointed out Sgt. Joe Restine, which went from 11 calls in 2007 to 43 in the past year. This may be attributed to the cuts that Siskiyou County Behavioral Health has been forced to make, Restine said.

Cross emphasized these numbers represent calls, and not every call generates a case.

“Sometimes a call is not accurate. Sometimes a call is categorized as one thing and charged as another once the officer gets to the scene and investigates. But these are the number of calls and the call type our officers handled each year by our department.”

Cross said historically, there is one about one homicide every 10 to 15 years. In 2002, Gabriel Pippin was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for the first degree murders of Jimmy Jackson and Sasha Marino. In November 2012, Earl Dodds was arrested in the shooting death of his cousin, Claudia Balassi.

“Armed robberies and home invasions are not common,” Cross said. “The hit and run like we had recently is not a common thing. But they do happen. However, overall, we live in a relatively safe town.”

Restine reminded people to be aware that crimes do happen and encouraged the community to do simple things such as lock their doors at night, not leave their purses in plain sight and not leave their keys in their cars.

“We live in a safe place, but people should still protect themselves,” Restine said.

Cross said with another officer on the street, his department might be able to deter more crime.

“We are definitely in a reactionary mode. We’d rather have more of a proactive, preventative approach, but with the budget the way it is, that’s difficult. That being said, with the resources we have, we are proud that we’ve been able to make arrests for recent crimes in a timely fashion.”

He pointed out that five people will be charged in the Mount Shasta home invasion case from last month, including three perpetrators and two accessories to the crime. The hit and run driver who is suspected of running over a Mount Shasta man on Feb. 23 has been arrested and Dodds pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Balassi.

Crime statewide

According to Kamala D. Harris, California’s Attorney General, crime statewide decreased in almost every category in 2011 (the most recent data available).

From 2010 to 2011, the violent crime rate per 100,000 population decreased 2.1 percent, reaching its lowest level since 1968, according to a press release from Kamala’s office.

The number of homicide cases continued to decline in 2011. Since peaking in 1992, the number of homicide crimes has decreased 56.2 percent (from 4,095 to 1,794) according to Kamala’s press release. The aggravated assault rate has also declined. However, the property crime rate increased 2.6 percent from 2010 to 2011.

The 2011 total arrest rate of 4,092 per 100,000 population at rise is 10.2 percent lower than the 2010 total arrest rate of 4,559, according to Kamala.

For more about the state’s crime rates, go to oag.ca.gov/crime