BARSTOW Despite a number of recent high-profile homicides, the crime rate for the City of Barstow is down when compared to this time last year.

Part one crimes which include violent crimes and serious property crimes are down 12 percent overall from January through August, the last month for which statistics are available.

Reported rapes are down 73 percent, and robbery is down 26 percent. Property crimes are down 12 percent.

The numbers show a continued downward trend in Barstow crime since mid-2007. The year-end part-one crime statistics for 2009 showed drops in every category except rape, which was up 60 percent that year.

Part-one crimes on the whole dropped 28 percent in 2009 from the previous year.

Barstow Police Sgt. Andy Espinoza Sr. said that he can't attribute the drop in reported crime to any social trend or efforts that the police department is making, but is glad crime is down.

"I really can't say if it's good police work or the way people are living that's making the difference," said Espinoza. "We thank god that (the crime rate) is down."

Espinoza said the police department is constantly working on preventing crime whether the crime rate is down or on the upswing.

"We are always working," said Espinoza. "If crime is up, we work harder. Whether crime rates are down because of special assignments or proactive details conducted by the police department, I don't know."

Although overall crime is down, homicides are up, with six so far this year. Last year four homicides occurred durig the entire year.

A longtime veteran of the Barstow Police Department, Espinoza said that crime rates are like a pendulum that swings back and forth.

"Right now I think the pendulum is in the middle," said Espinoza. "We've seen two more homicides, hopefully we won't have any more."

Crime rates for 2010 from the unicorporated areas around Barstow were not yet available from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. The Desert Dispatch will follow up with these numbers when they became available.

Pick up Tuesday's Desert Dispatch to see the full chart detailing crime numbers.