4 facts about Orange County crime that residents say should be addressed

In one of Orange County’s safest cities, voters still think about crime. So do Republican campaigns for Senate and governor, who’ve largely ignored the issue for months.

In Orange County, the number of reported rapes has plateaued at about 30 a year, compared to last year’s 51. But in other cities, like Fullerton, residents continue to fret over violent encounters and are concerned that police aren’t doing enough to solve them.

For the latest on police performance in Orange County, check out the Times’ new “County Police on the Case” blog. Here are four facts about the Orange County crime problem that residents say should be addressed:

1. An upsurge, but many residents remain unaware of the crime problem in their own neighborhoods.

An analysis released this month by the Police Executive Research Forum, a Boston-based nonprofit whose members study crime and public safety, found that residents of some counties — including Orange County — aren’t aware of a surge in reported offenses that began some time ago.

“It’s been a big issue in cities across the country, and it’s a big issue here in the region,” said Jeff Graham, founder and president of the PEARF. “Most people are not aware of it.”

That’s because in some counties, the information on the website, www.ocpep.org, is buried under a layer of news headlines, Graham said.

The report’s authors found that in Orange County, the percentage of people aware of a surge in reported offenses is lower than in other major cities, including Los Angeles and New York.

That’s because the issue has been largely ignored by the media and politicians.

2. Residents are divided over what can be done about the problem.

The number of reported rapes in Orange County has been on a steady course for more than a year.

But when voters went to the polls last November, they were divided over whether the county’s efforts to address the problem were enough.

The issue was high on the list of reasons Orange County voters cited for why they backed Republican candidates for governor and for the state’s congressional delegation.

So voters took a deep breath and opted to choose George W. Bush in November. And the next year, the Bush administration appointed William Galvin to lead the FBI’s Orange County Division.

Galvin has faced criticism because of the division’s low

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