Across the Central Coast, law enforcement has seen a spike in both calls and violent crimes law enforcement. However, it is unclear to law enforcement what's driving the violence.
According to the Monterey Sheriff's office, there's been a 25% increase compared to last year. Violent crimes include robberies, assault with deadly weapons, homicides, sexual assaults, and domestic violence.
Last year 119 crimes were reported and this year already there have been 141 so far. There currently are about 50 officers available to respond to these types of calls. A number that is significantly less than in the previous years.
"We're almost half of what we were ten years ago," said Monterey County Chief Deputy John Thornburg. "Our numbers are down and if we had more, could we respond to more? Absolutely."
The department loses about 33 deputies annually because of retirement. on average it takes nearly two years between a deputies training and their official start date on the job.
"As far as our staffing goes, the Board of Supervisors did reduce the number of deputies that we have," said Chief Deputy Thornburg. "They did cut seven positions that we had last year."
Meanwhile, the Watsonville Police Department said, crimes have gone up about 10% since January, compared to a year ago. Last year from January to June there were no homicides. But already there have been three homicides this year.
According to the California Department of Justice, 2020 was California's deadliest year in 13 years. More than two thousand homicides were reported, an increase of 31% compared to 2019.