ADT Murietta, California

The Future of Crime in Murietta, California
It should come as no surprise to the city’s many residents that Murrieta, California has affectionately been termed “The Future of Southern California.” Located in the southwestern corner of the Inland Empire, the city has seen an impressive population boom in recent years. In 2010, 103,466 people, mostly commuters, called it home. Since then the population has continued to rise and is estimated at a little over 108,000 full-time residents. Up until as late as the 1980s, Murrieta was a country town of just over 2,000 inhabitants. Its impressive population increase can be primarily attributed to the construction of many suburban neighborhoods in the late ’80s. It is now the largest city in the southwestern portion of Riverside County. With an average of 263 days of sunshine each year, a calm, Mediterranean climate, and a proliferation of well-paying jobs in nearby San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties, it makes sense that such a large and diverse variety of people have chosen to take advantage of recent construction. What is surprising is that, despite such an incredible population boom, Murrieta continues to boast some of the lowest rates of crime in California. Residents’ chances of becoming victims of any kind of crime are only one in 70. Only 20% of California communities of any size can claim lower rates of crime. When compared to other cities, this statistic is even more impressive. Most urban centers have significantly higher crime rates than their rural counterparts, but Murrieta is largely the exception. In 2009, it was declared the second safest city with a population of over 100,000 residents in the country. The situation had even been continuing to improve since then. Murrieta’s 94 police officers investigated 99 violent crimes in 2009, but only 68 in 2015. However, it’s uncertain whether this trend is likely to continue. Sean Hadden, the current Chief of Police, at a conference on public safety held in November of 2016, cited some concern that certain propositions that have recently been passed may have a negative impact. Proposition 47 reduced felonies such as drugs and commercial burglaries to misdemeanor charges. AB 109 was passed in an effort to address prison overcrowding, allowing the early release of certain prisoners meeting the program’s eligibility criteria to reduce their sentences. These changes have some residents concerned. They worry that decreased sentences will encourage property crime, and projected statistics for this calendar year, as well as local news, seem to bear out this fear. In May, a man from Hesperia were apprehended after breaking into a household in California Oaks Park. He was only caught because the resident was at home when the burglary took place, and was able to hide out, escaping the perpetrator’s notice and immediately reporting the incident to police. The suspect was already out on parole for burglary and other felony charges. This fact alone seems to support the idea that Proposition 47 and AB 109 have had a detrimental effect on the community’s ability to deter crime. Later that month, a local woman suffered both a burglary and a home invasion in the same day. The suspect, or suspects, entered the home when its resident was away in the morning. She called and reported the incident to the police upon arriving home, and was met with a prompt response from local officers. At approximately 2:30PM, the same woman called dispatch to report a home invasion. She informed the investigating officer that one suspect had returned to her home, pointed a gun at her, and forced her to lay on the ground. He then told her that he had left something behind that morning, searched the house, and fled before the woman was able to contact the authorities for a second time. Thankfully the woman was not hurt, but, less happily, the suspect was not successfully apprehended. It is important to note that these burglaries were committed during the day. In a commuter town, burglars often, and sometimes wrongly, assume that most houses will remain vacant during work hours. In both cases noted above, they were incorrect. However, many other homes are left vacant as their inhabitants commute to work in other cities. These regular and prolonged absences can make their homes easy targets. This recent uptick in crimes is still nothing compared to property or violent crime rates in other major southern California cities. It is certainly not cause for enough alarm that residents are deterred from enjoying all that Murrieta has to offer. It is, however, compelling reason for homeowners, and commuters in particular, to evaluate their current home security systems. One popular solution among workaholics across the country is remote-access security systems. Modern home security technology allows residents to control everything from lights to locks from their phones, giving them the power to create the impression of a busy, constantly occupied, household even when they are away at work. Remote security options can be particularly helpful for families, as they allow concerned parents to ensure that forgetful children don’t forget to lock the door behind them on the way back from school. Installing remote-access security cameras can bring an added peace of mind as well. These allow authorized users to view live feeds on their phones, ensuring that they can keep an eye on their property even from cities away. Most of these systems also come with the added perk of remote thermostat control, allowing residents to ensure that their homes will be comfortable before they even enter the door. For those unable or unwilling to go the whole nine yards, a simple home alarm will still provide more security than nothing at all. Particularly in cities with a constant influx of new residents, trusting nosy neighbors to keep watch while parents are away at work is just not an option many are willing to live with.