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Early release of felons driving up thefts
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Ceres enjoyed a decrease in most major crimes in 2011 over 2010 but the state's early release of prisoners program is resulting in more property crimes, said police officials.

A total of 31 state prisoners were released to Ceres since the Oct. 1, 2011 start-up of the state program and another 68 to the 95351 zip code which includes north of Hatch Road to the Tuolumne River. In all, 619 have been released to Stanislaus County and some of them have gone back to their thieving lifestyle, said Deputy Chief of Police Mike Borges.

The Ceres Police Department is finalizing its statistics on crimes during the first six months of 2012.

"I have a feeling it's going to go up," said Borges. "The chiefs in Turlock and Modesto see an increase in property crimes.

Drug related offenses went up from 2010 to 2011 but most other area of crime went down from 2010 to 2011, said Borges.

Part I Crimes, which are the most serious of crimes, decreased 12 percent between 2010 and 2011. Part I crimes of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft are reported to the FBI on a monthly and annual basis.

Part I crimes totaled 1,857 last year, 2,114 in 2010 and 1,913 in 2009.

Substantial decreases were experienced, especially in the area of auto theft which dropped approximately 38 percent since 2010. Violent crimes has dropped roughly 2 percent and there was a 13 percent reduction in property crimes. The only crimes that saw an increase were aggravated assaults which increased by approximately 7 percent, with seven more crimes reported in 2011 than in 2010.

Highlights of Part I crime statistics for 2011 include:

• There were no homicides in 2011.

• Six rapes were reported in Ceres in 2011.

• A total of 50 robberies were reported during 2011.

• Assaults totaled 271.

• Ceres police attended to 374 reports of burglaries.

• The bulk of Part I crimes were larcenies (not involving cars) which totaled 1,037.

• Auto theft cases were reported to be 281.

• A total of 13 arson crimes were reported.

All other crimes that do not fall into the realm of Part I crimes fall into the FBI's category of Part II Crimes. They include simple assault, domestic violence, fraud/ID theft, vandalism, crimes against family and children, stolen property crimes, public intoxication, sex offenses and drug crimes.

In 2011, Ceres Police experienced a decline in most of these crimes, with the exception of drug related offense which grew by 56 percent.

Of the 2,179 arrests made by Ceres Police in 2011, 993 involved felonies. The majority of arrests were of adults (1,848) while 331 were juveniles.