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Sonoma County Criminal Justice Master Plan UPDATE


Sonoma County Criminal Justice Master Plan UPDATE

By Rebecca Wachsberg
On December 8, 2015, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted the 2015 Update to the Criminal Justice System Master Plan.  The plan is a result of an 18 month long study that evaluated crime and demographic trends, as well as the impacts of programs designed to reduce the demand on the county jail.

The report found that Sonoma County is a safe place to live, and that the Criminal Justice System is a “balanced, well managed, effective justice system that serves the community well.”  The aging population of Sonoma County, as well as the County’s commitment to upstream investments, has resulted in crime rates significantly lower than in 2004 as well as compared to the rest of the State of California.  In 2004, the crime rate was 3,556 per 100,000 residents in Sonoma County, compared to 3,974 statewide.  By comparison, in 2013, the Sonoma County crime rate was 2,020 per 100,000 residents, while the statewide rate was 3,062.  

Even more significant in this time frame was the decrease in juvenile arrests.  There were 1,197 juvenile arrests in Sonoma County in 2013, down from 2,674 in 2004.  The decrease should also impact future crime rates, as contact with the Juvenile Justice System is a strong predictor of subsequent adult criminality.

“The reduction of crime in our community is a true testament to the collaborative efforts of the justice partners in Sonoma County,” commented Board of Supervisors Chair Susan Gorin. “I want to praise work of our Sheriff, District Attorney, Public Defender, and Chief Probation Officer for their commitment to working together to prioritize the safety of our Sonoma County residents. Their success is evident when you look at this report.”