GUSTINE - The number of crimes reported in Gustine fell in 2020 compared to the previous year, Police Chief Ruben Chavez advised the City Council in a report presented Feb. 2.

Chavez attributed the decline in part to the pandemic curtailing activity in general - but also pointed to a more pro-active approach by Gustine police as a key factor in the downward trend in crime stats.

“COVID had an impact, but I’m proud of the work that our officers did this year,” he told the council. “Even with COVID, numbers went up in other cities in our county. We have great officers committed to keeping us safe.”

One highlight, he said, was that Gustine experienced no shooting or stabbing incidents in 2020.

Conversely, however, he acknowledged that police did see an increase in domestic violence during the past year. Domestic violence incidents are not specifically broken out in the statistics provided by the police chief, but Chavez said the trend was upward.

That could be a side effect of the pandemic, he suggested, with stay-at-home orders and in some cases financial hardships possibly contributing to tension and conflict.

Overall, though, Part I crimes (generally the most serious offenses), were down 13 percent from 2019 stats. The number of Part I crimes fell from 193 in 2019 to 168 last year, according to Chavez’s report.

He also said Gustine officers took 795 reports in 2020, down 23 percent from 1,026 the prior year.

A total of 8,478 incidents were reported in 2020, a dip of 17 percent from 10,272 the previous year.

The number of impounded vehicles has risen sharply over a three-year period, climbing from 42 in 2018 to 110 in 2019 and 130 last year. Again, Chavez attributed that increase largely to police being more active and making more contacts with the public.

By category, the year-to-year comparison of Part I crimes was as follows.

• No homicides were reported in either 2019 or 2020.

• Two rapes were reported during each of the last two years.

• Two robberies were reported in 2020, down from four the previous year.

• The number of aggravated assaults fell from 11 to three.

• Fifty-five simple assaults were reported in 2020, down from 58.

• Burglary cases fell sharply, from 32 in 2019 to 21 last year.

• Police received 56 larceny reports in 2020, up one from 55 in 2019.

• Twenty-eight vehicle thefts were reported last year, down one from the previous year.

• One arson was reported in 2020, down from two a year earlier.