Despite many issues facing the Turlock Police Department, the Annual Police Report for 2014 says overall crime is dropping slightly.
According to the annual report, violent crimes — which include homicides, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny/theft, and auto theft — have dropped 2.8 percent from 2013 (2,951) to 2014 (2,869).
In addition to the drop in violent crimes, overall arrests dropped from 3,641 in 2013 to 3,439 in 2014 — approximately a 6 percent decrease.
While overall crime is down, that is largely due to a significant drop in burglary and auto thefts from 2013 to 2014.
Homicides saw a sharp increase, with four in 2014, after only one in 2013. That number is however skewed slightly due to the triple murder-suicide last year on Red Oak Court.
On June 26, four bodies were found deceased in a home in the 3000 block of Red Oak Court. Police investigation determined that that Rodney Bowman, 39, was responsible for the stabbing deaths of his parents Sarkis Babakhan, 78, and Rozmary Babakhan, 70. Bowman and his brother Robert Babakhan, 42, who was disabled, died due to exposure to smoke and toxic chemicals generated from a fire that had been intentionally started in the home by Bowman.
According to the 2014 Annual Police Report, there was also an increase in rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, and larceny.
There was also a significant increase in fatal collisions on Turlock roads last year with eight — up from three in 2013. The fatal collisions in 2014 included several pedestrians that were hit and killed by trains during summer.
The increases in crimes can be attributed to several struggles the Turlock Police Department is facing, including fully realizing impacts of AB 109 (prison realignment) and the passage of Proposition 47.
“Over time, we will see the overall impacts to our communities as the dramatic changes to our judicial system over the last five years come to fruition,” said Turlock Police Chief Robert Jackson.
While a difficult year in some aspects, there were many positives for the department in 2014.
The Turlock Police Department has been been struggling to maintain a full police staff, but are finally making some strides forward. Turlock Police Department was awarded a grant last year that allowed them to hire four new officers, which will bring back the proactive street crimes unit that was cut years prior.
“Like other agencies in our area, we are still struggling with finding qualified applicants for police officer positions but are making major efforts in our recruiting and testing to fill vacancies both now and for the future,” said Jackson.
Customer service and community police also continues to be a main priority Turlock police, both of which were large successes in 2014.
“Our Department continues to focus on customer service and connecting with our community,” said Jackson. “The ‘Blue Santa Program’ expands each year and is an incredible way for our Department to reach out to less fortunate children in our area.”
The Blue Santa Program reached out to over 45 children and six seniors, visiting 28 families and six schools during the Christmas holiday in 2014.
Turlock Police Department was also awarded for their National Night Out efforts in 2014, ranking No. 2 in California and No. 1 in Northern California for cities with populations between 50,000 and 99,000.
According to Jackson, the Turlock Police Department will continue to strive for excellence and continue to do what is possible to keep Turlock streets safe.
“Our vision statement of ‘Leading the Way Through Excellence’ is something we continue to strive to attain and do so with a deep sense of pride and honor,” said Jackson. “As police professionals, we will continue to commit ourselves to public safety, service and excellence.”
To read the full 2014 Annual Police Report, visit the City of Turlock website.