Violent crime in Sacramento dropped 18.2 percent in the first nine months of 2023, and the number of people victimized by gun violence fell by a third.
Homicides and rapes fell 40 percent compared to the first nine months of 2022, and aggravated assaults dropped 21 percent.
In a presentation to City Council Tuesday and a subsequent press conference Wednesday, Police Chief Kathy Lester said Sacramento’s drops in crimes far outstripped the national average for crime reduction during the same time period.
She credited a more targeted approach to addressing violence that focuses on the neighborhoods most affected along with the department’s collaboration with community-based organizations that intervene directly with young people identified as at at risk of getting caught up in crime.
“I am very proud of our department,” said Lester. “Overall, violent crime is down 18% because of great people, great police work and great work by our community partners.”
The City Council Tuesday approved awarding $3.2 million previously included in this year’s City budget at the request of Mayor Darrell Steinberg to 13 community-based organizations doing such work in the community.
“These are the people in the community actually delivering us better public safety,” Steinberg said at Wednesday’s press conference, where he and Lester were joined by Office of Violence Prevention Manager Dr. Nicole Clavo and representatives of community groups working with the city.
Lester also noted that the Sacramento Police Department was one of six cities nationwide selected by the United States Department of Justice as a Public Safety Partnership location. This partnership means technical assistance and staff support from federal agencies like the Drug Enforcement Agency, along with a significant increase in federal prosecutions for crimes committed here.
The money awarded by the City Council Tuesday was added to the budget in June at the request of Steinberg. The 13 recipients whose awards were approved Tuesday include Academics 4 Athletes, All In Together, Brother 2 Brother, HAWK Institute, H.O.P.E. Helping Our People Eat, REImagine Mack Road Foundation, Rose Family Creative Empowerment Center, Sacramento Youth Center, Self Awareness and Recovery, Victory Outreach South Sacramento, Voices of the Youth, and WellSpace Health.
Sutter Health also played a critical role in providing grant reporting services for free to the police department.
“It’s a really unique group of individuals doing this work,” Clavo said of the community organizations and their employees. “They are targeting those that we know for a fact that are gang members, that we know for a fact have guns in their hands.”
Merv Brookins, CEO of Brother 2 Brother, praised Lester for her data-driven approach to preventing crime in the city. “She took the facts that were given to her, focused on the areas most affected, and empowered CBOs to work in those areas,” he said.