BARSTOW Crime in unincorporated Barstow and surrounding communities has fallen so far this year in comparison with last year.

Violent crimes and serious property crimes fell 35 percent for the months of January through September, according to numbers released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. The Barstow station provides police services for Daggett, Hinkley, Newberry Springs, and Yermo as well as unincorporated areas of Barstow.

Statistics provided by the sheriff's department also include the Trona Station.

Robbery, assault, and motor theft were all down. Rape remains rare, but is up so far with seven rapes reported in comparison with last year's two through September. The same number of thefts, 112, were reported. Last year 520 part one crimes were reported through September, while 385 have occurred this year.

This year the Barstow station responded to one homicide. Guillermo Landeros, 43, was found stabbed to death in front of a house at the 400 block of West Williams Street in Yermo on July. Matthew Lozano, 20 was arrested for the killing his next court date is scheduled for November 15.

Robbery was down 44%, with nine occurring this year and 16 last year. Motor vehicle theft dropped 63 percent for a total so far this year of 35.

Barstow station Capt. Greg Lascala said that no one has a specific explanation of why crime is down or up any given year, but preventive efforts by the sheriff's department and other law agencies who work in outlying Barstow areas help to lower crime rates.

"Several of the sweeps we've had already this year make a difference," said Lascala. "We've also made an effort to connect with the communities we serve, and visit with local service districts."

Lascala said that deputies are making their presence known in those communities and staying out on patrol there during their shift instead of using the Barstow station as a "home perch."

The Barstow station is also making do with less as the station lost seven deputies over the past year. Lascala said that the street presence of sheriff's deputies is unaffected, however, as overlapping shifts were eliminated and deputies now prepare more reports on the road instead of back at the office.

Lascala said that numbers so far this year are not out of line with statistics for the station over the past five years.

"I'm eager to see the numbers at the end of the year to see where we're at," said Lascala.

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