But since then, largely under the oversight of current Chief John Welter, who announced his pending retirement recently, that statistic has dropped thirty percentage points in a downward spiral over ten years unrivaled by any other law enforcement agency within county lines.
The news is sure to cause a rhetorical shimmy and shuffle among the chief's boosters and, indeed, already has. The reasons for the current 43% violent crime solving rate, largely fueled by rape and felony assaults, are debated by all sides in the Reggie article, but other pertinent data and facts are as follows:
- Solved rape cases dropped from 77% in '98-'02 to 42% in the past five years.
- At least 480 rape cases remain unsolved since 2002.
- Since 2002, APD's budget has ballooned 60%.
- Between 2002-2009 staffing levels grew, but crime-solving rates still dropped 30%.
- APD never reported the declining statistics to the city council nor residents.
- Most of the violent crime occurs in Anaheim proper (West of the 57 freeway).
The reaction to this revelation has been varied, but the gem among them all comes courtesy of Amin David, emeritus chair of Los Amigos, who was left "speechless" telling the Reggie, "I'm of the mind that Chief Welter has been an outstanding police chief."
HA! Shows how much the dean of the city's Latino "leaders" is clued in to reality. In addition to the Latino advocacy group, David has also been a member of the Chief's Advisory Board since 2004 along with his heir, Anaheim City School District trustee and Los Amigos head Jose Moreno. While Anaheim burned last summer, they and their allies sat largely silent, standing by Welter and the police department and sitting alongside people like fellow advisory board member Kris Lasher, who told the Register "I just have the highest trust of the Anaheim police, and they're doing an outstanding job with what they have to work with."
The formation was noted as an innovative practice introduced by Welter in the press release announcing his retirement, but it apparently played no role in bringing to light the question of declining crime-solving statistics.
Captain Bob Conklin and Anaheim Police Association President Kerry Condon noted lower staffing levels as a possible explanation, but the trends, as the Reggie points out, ultimately don't pan out with that line of thinking. The role of gangs in felony assaults and witness intimidation was raised, but not the three gang injunctions and four 'safety zones' in the city that are usually statistically touted before another was added just this year.
Mayor Tom Tait was initially unaware of the percentages, but ultimately came in agreement with Welter that the Baker-era figures might have been inflated.
With the current chief's nine-year reign closing to an end, perhaps, with the passing of the baton, violent crime-solving statistics might yet have a chance to start turning around. Whatever the case, at least the public's aware of the issue now–but will the yaktivists apologize for vouching for years for a department the rest of the city knew as inept and out of control? Don't bet on it…