Sign of the crimes

Midtown robber: busted?

Midtown robber: busted?

The Sacramento Police Department has tallied reported crimes for 2010, and homicide has jumped the most, a 6.5 percent increase. Incidents of rape declined the most, by 8.4 percent.

According to SPD, there was a 3.6 percent decline in crime overall, but there are concerns about a rise in violent crime and gang activity. The police department says there are nearly 5,000 gang members in the Sacramento region.

A rise in violent gun incidents is especially troublesome, the SPD said. Statistics show that shootings at individuals rose by 12 percent, and shootings at occupied houses and apartments and vehicles rose by about 22 percent.

“With these alarming numbers, we are fortunate the number of homicides were not greater,” SPD said in a statement. According to Sgt. Norm Leong, spokesman for SPD, there were 33 homicides last year.

The number of assaults on police officers are also a concern, with four reported the week of January 16. Since 2005, the number of attacks on police has risen by 58 percent.

In one piece of good news, a series of late-night robberies in Midtown in the fall seems to have ceased.

“We made some arrests that may be connected,” Leong told SN&R. “Once [the] arrests [were] made, they seemed to have stopped.”

The numbers for 2010: felony assaults up 2.9 percent, homicides up 6.5 percent, burglary down 2.6 percent, auto theft down 3.4 percent, rape down 8.4 percent, theft down 4.9 percent, robbery down 7.1 percent. (Hugh Biggar)

RT goes digital

Those who ride Sacramento Regional Transit’s light rail probably noticed a few upgrades recently at several stations. But most visible are the new, flashy digital signs, which display route info for passengers.

According to Mike Mattos, RT’s chief of facilities and business support services, the signs were bought with Homeland Security Grant Program funds and at the moment will provide passengers with schedule and train-disruption information. He also explained that, later this year, the signs will be capable of informing light-rail riders of further details about all trains in real time.

“We’ll be able to tell people if a train is two minutes or five minutes late,” explained Mattos. “And we will have the ability to deliver complex, interesting messages that are time-sensitive.”

Twenty digital signs will grace light-rail stations throughout Sacramento by the end of January, with plans to expand to 36 before summer.

Hardened enclosures and an increase in security cameras will protect these newly purchased upgrades, which cost $11,000 each for the double-sided variety; some stations will have the single-sided signs. The project is scheduled to be completed by July.

“This is something that we’ve been asked for from the public who rides, so they can tell what’s going on in the system,” Mattos explained. “And this is our response in trying to keep them informed on the systems, on time performance and when they can catch their train.” (Stephanie Rodriguez)