Fresno has vaulted to the notorious perch of America's auto-theft capital. And, not surprisingly, Fresno's police chief sees a direct connection to early jail releases.
The Fresno metropolitan area, which includes all of Fresno County, topped the nation with 8.12 autos stolen per 1,000 population. Eight of the top nine communities, including the Visalia area at No. 8, were in California.
Fresno's increase from 5,875 thefts in 2009 to 7,559 in 2010 actually bucked the national trend, said Frank Scafidi, a Sacramento-based spokesman for the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which conducted the study. Of the 366 areas surveyed, 71% saw decreases.
It's not something Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer is happy about, and he points to early releases from Fresno County Jail as a major reason for the rise.
"It is not for a lack of effort or great police work," Dyer said. "We are lacking consequences."
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