Police / Fire

Crime in Hollister down 10 percent in 2014; 24 percent in 5 years

Annual crime report also shows DUI arrests rose 94 percent from 2013 to 2014

The number of reported crimes in Hollister dropped 10 percent between 2013 and 2014, continuing a half-decade trend that has seen crime drop 24 percent, according to just-released statistics from the Hollister Police Department.

Police Chief David Westrick told the Hollister City Council on Feb. 2 that the drop in crime is attributable to "the efforts of our patrol staff, our detectives (and) our support staff," along with school resource and gang officers. "I think what we're seeing is the fruits of our labor: a more connected community with their police department." Westrick said more peole are "calling before something happens to prevent it from happening."

There were three homicides in 2014, compared to four in 2013 and the number of reported rapes was at 14 both years. Robberies dropped by 37 percent year over year and assaults fell by 3.5 percent, according to the report. Burlgaries were up slightly, from 185 to 191 (a 3 percent increase), while larceny (21 percent drop) and vehicle theft (16 percent drop) were both down.

Westrick said the fact that driving under the influence arrests rose 94 percent — from 156 in 2013 to 302 in 2014 — is "a good stat and a bad stat. Our officers are catching a lot of these folks," he said, noting that over the past five years officers have been trained in drugged and drunken driving recognition, including noticing the effects of prescription and illegal drugs.

"It tells me our officers are doing a great job," Westrick said. "Nineteen officers were the uniform; they are the ones responsible for this (arrest) activity here in our town. We should be very proud of their efforts."

Domestic violence reports rose 4 percent from 2013 to 2014 (from 184 to 192), adult arrests were up by 32.5 percent and juvenile arrests fell by 16 percent, according to the report. Westrick said the 26 percent increase in total arrests is "a lot. That's a huge increase."

Total accidents dropped by 3 percent year over year, while injury accidents remained steady at 75. There were two deadly accidents in 2014, compared to none the year before, but no listed DUI and motorcycle accidents in 2014.

"Our goal is the protection of life and property," Westrick said. "It's an ongoing mission." He closed his presentation to the council by saying that "at some point, we need to talk about the bigger picture to make our streets a little safer" by having a police unit dedicated to traffic safety."
































Adam Breen

Adam Breen has been a San Benito County resident since 1980 and graduated from Sacred Heart School and San Benito High School before earning a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno. A father of two sons, Adam has taught newspaper, English and yearbook at SBHS for the past decade, after six years as a magazine editor for Santa Clara University. He previously was editor of the Hollister Free Lance and content director for BenitoLink.