BOSQUE FARMS / PERALTA—Crimes reported in all categories in the village of Bosque Farms and the town of Peralta have declined or stayed the same from 2019 to 2020.
The Bosque Farms Police Department patrols both Bosque Farms and Peralta, and in 2019, received 12.5 percent of the total calls for service within Valencia County, and 10 percent of the calls in 2020, said Bosque Farms Police Chief Andrew Owen.
There were no homicides in either municipality in either year, one robbery each year and two cases of criminal sexual penetration — rape — for each year, Owen said.
Domestic violence cases declined slightly from 31 to 28.
“Domestic violence stayed pretty steady unfortunately,” Owen said. “We did see an increase in disturbance calls (in 2020). There’s no violence but there are arguments; family members yelling at each other.
“We were able to go in and diffuse the situation, get people calmed down and separated so we could prevent a situation.”
The chief doesn’t have precise numbers on disturbance calls because they typically don’t result in a report being generated.
Another area of increased calls was in Children, Youth and Families Department referrals from third-party mandatory reporters such as teachers and nurses, he said.
“For example, we got a call there was yelling in the background of the Zoom class. They were concerned for the child; officers go do what they’re supposed to do ... a lot of times it’s, ‘Dad was yelling at me because I didn’t do my chores.’
“It’s what they have to do and that’s what we want those mandatory reporters to continue doing, right? Because that’s what we need.”
Owen said BFPD Detective Joseph Harris takes the majority of those types of calls.
“He’s very good at recognizing what needs to be done, when he needs to do something more to make sure a child is safe,” the chief said. “He does a fabulous job with that.”
Property crimes of all types decreased from 2019 to 2020. The biggest decline was in burglaries with only 16 reported in 2020, 46 fewer than the year before.
Larceny/shoplifting reports dropped from 76 to 47, and there were only eight auto thefts reported in 2020, down from 29 in 2019.
Criminal damage to property saw a small drop from 41 reports to 30, and there were only two fewer fraud cases in 2020 than the year before, from 23 to 21.
Arrests, DWI stops and overall citations dropped in 2020, Owen said, and he mostly attributes that to COVID-19 precautions.
“We did have a slight pause on a lot of our proactive work. We had masks, sanitation and distancing to keep everybody safe, including our officers because they have families, too,” the chief said.
While proactive traffic stops might have put a dent in the number of citations issued — down by 1,261 — the chief said his officers put in time patrolling residential areas and the business districts of both municipalities.
“We concentrated a lot on our presence, being seen and deterring the crimes,” he said. “Just being out and about, showing our presence, helped with those big property crime reductions. That’s where you see them — in residential areas.
“That’s why I want to get our citizens to realize when people are out and about in their neighborhoods. They know what fits in their neighborhood, what car doesn’t belong.”
Owen said of all the property crimes committed in the 13 square miles the department patrols, offenders are from a different jurisdiction.
“They reside outside of our area,” he said. “Like I say, they come here and do their shopping.”
While an increased presence can protect residential property, one crime BFPD has a hard time getting a handle on is fraud, which is committed mostly by phone and more often online.
“Some of the larger agencies — state and federal — are inundated with these calls, and they are tracking them,” Owen said. “We don’t have the resources for that. There’s often not a lot we can do except help (a victim) try to recoup their finances through their bank by generating the report.
“We really want to educate people about fraud. If you didn’t initiate the call, don’t answer, don’t give them information,” the chief said. “Don’t click the link in the email or text message. We see it a lot here, especially with the older community we have.”