A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….or so the Charles Dickens classic begins. But the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report comparing 2010 with 2009 is particulary fine for Irvine which looks to hold on to it’s Safest City in America designation for a seventh straight year.

Crime is down in Irvine, the county’s third largest city, in every single category.  The city’s population stands at just over 217,000 and had 120 violent crimes in 2010 compared with 153 in 2009.  No murders last year compared to three in 2009.  Forcible rape was down to 24 from 28. Robberies decreased from 85 to 40, burglaries dropped from 2,996 to 2,798, theft virtually unchanged from 481 to 480 (still down) and arson dropped to 150 to 121.

Compare this with our neighbors to the Northwest in Santa Ana, the county’s second largest city.  With 340,000 residents, you’d think the stats would be higher.  But they’re a lot higher. 

Santa Ana had 1,510 violent crimes in 2010 compared with 1,726.  That’s about ten times higher than Irvine.  The murder rate increased from 25 to 28, forcible rape increased from 77 to 88, arson leap from 94 to 139, and theft increased from 4,165 to 4,189.  Roberries dropped from 869 to 719 and burglaries decreased to 6,580 from 6,798. So Santa Ana crime statistics represent a mixed bag for Police Chief Paul Walters — a step forward in some areas and a step back.

All said, you’re ten times more likely to be a victim of violent crime in Santa Ana than you are in Irvine.  In fact, you could add Irvine’s 2009 and 2010 figures together for murder, forcible rape, robbery, property theft, theft and burglary and still not achieve Santa Ana’s 2010 stats. 

If “I’m Santa Ana and Santa Ana is Great” is a slogan, should the progressive city council majority use the slogan “I’m Irvine and Irvine is Fine.”

  17 comments for “A Tale of Two Cities

  1. Santa Ana Resident
    May 25, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Apples to oranges comparison Dan.

    Try comparing Santa Ana to other cities of similar demographics and population.

    The median household income in Irvine is $113,768 and in Santa Ana it is $43,412. Big difference.

    • May 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      SA is the #2 city in OC, Irvine #3 by population. Irvine is considerably more diverse than Santa Ana. Half the homes in Irvine are rentals.

  2. Santa Ana Resident
    May 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Dan you can’t honestly say that the demographics of Irvine and Santa Ana are even close. Population wise Santa Ana has a much larger number of people too.

  3. May 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Santa Ana has a third more population and 10 times the crime; I didn’t say the demographics are close. Irvine is a much more diverse city.

  4. Howard be my name
    May 26, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Oh, great, just what we need — liberals bashing cities with a low-income population. Why not just go all the way and point out that crime is higher in cities with a primarily Democratic voter base?

  5. May 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Howard — having a low income isn’t a license to commit a crime; there are 340,000 residents in Santa Ana and 1,500 violent crimes. Do the math.

  6. Howard be my name
    May 27, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Of course it’s not a license to commit crimes. But are you actually saying you’re not aware that crime is higher in lower income areas?

    Dan, I think Irvine is a fine place and you have a right to be proud of your city. You post a lot of notices about good things going on in Irvine, and that’s great. But using the blog as a platform to bash other cities in the area isn’t right.

    • Get a clue
      May 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      Howard….get a clue
      This City Council lives in total denial. There is soooo much that could be done to return Santa Ana to a safe, respectable city, yet they do virtually nothing. Other than playing word games with the crime stats, and hiring Pedroza and Mill to cheerlead they squat on their haunches while my city is written up daily in the newspaper as “stabba ana”

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    May 27, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I am merely comparing two cities which have a progresive council majority; which one is most responsive to its residents?

  8. Santa Ana Guy
    May 31, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Don’t be an SA hater! Santa Ana is quite a diverse town with many neighborhoods with great diversity (racially and economically). Irvine, IMHO, is a soul-less collection of identical boxes where people push their kids too hard and don’t know their neighbors. Much of the money floating folks in this homogenous company-tract town (Irvine) seems to come from abroad, as actual earned mean salaries there fail to keep up with over-priced home prices. My 2 cents on this shockumentary of an article. Keepin’ it real in SA!

  9. June 1, 2011 at 9:02 am

    No one is hating on Santa Ana. From published reports, the city is 88 percent Latino which does not make it diverse. If it were 88 percent white, it wouldn’t make Santa Ana diverse. Irvine’s diversity breaks down like this: White, 45.1%, Asian (we have large Korean, Chinese and Japanese populations and many from India), 39%, Hispanic 9.2 percent, African-American 1.6%, and “other” 5.1 percent. We’re actually a city of minorities.

    Irvine is not a soul-less collection of identical boxes. It’s a newer city and the homes are well maintained. Do we push our kids hard – yep! And the academic results from students in IUSD is pretty hard to deny. As far as Irvine residents “don’t know their neighbors,” I’ll trot that comment out on our next block party in my neighborhood.

    Half the residences in Irvine are apartments, so if you are looking for overpriced homes, try the waterfront in Laguna and CDM.

    Criticism of Santa Ana does not mean I hate Santa Ana. The city has great promise and is much better than it was when I moved to OC 14 years ago. But it has a long way to go.

  10. santa ana guy
    June 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Fair enough. This bit just seemed like one of those many, self-congratulatory pieces I’d expect to read on a right wing blog. Keep on living the Irvine Company dream they’ve sold you! I’d still argue Irvine is so young that its a collection of tracts for the well off, rather than a town. Socioeconomically, it’s homogenous as can be. Not my cup of tea, but I concede many seem to love it. The two America’s theme of your article, which I find frightening, is perhaps something to be concerned about, and not something to celebrate. And some of those kids really could use their childhoods back. Just my humble opinion.

  11. June 5, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Come on Dan, really?
    What did you except with your article? Why don’t you just go out and do an article on the ethnic background on White Colar crime vs Blue Colar crime…educated vs non-educated…home owners vs renters. Your comparisons and multiple Irvine “diversity” comments vs SA’s 88% Latino “which does not make it diverse” is saying that Latinos commit more crimes than Whites of Asian.
    If you wanted to be controversal, you got your wish…just leave My City out of it. This artical proves “Us Whites Of South OC” feel the need to knock “our neighbors to the Northwest” down from time to time in order to make us feel better about what we have.

    • June 6, 2011 at 11:28 am

      This is a straight comparsion of the #2 and #3 largest cities in OC both with Progressive City Council majorities. I’m also pointed out Irvine has a far more diverse population and about half the homes in Irvine are apartments.

  12. SomeHowSomeWay
    June 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    You can say they are #2 and #3 all day long, but in no way can you rightfully compare them. How old is Santa Ana, 150 years old…how many jails (5)…how many homeless shelters (100+)…how many homeless (50,000)…Orange/Costa Mesa/Tustin/Irvine drive homeless and bad guys to Santa Ana…hospitals drop off homeless in Santa Ana…churches from South OC go to Santa Ana to pass out food, bev, clothes, medical supplies to homeless in Santa Ana…how many undocumented (200,000)?? All of this adds up to a whole lot of unaccountability, am I wrong? Lets now put you in charge of this…congrats, you are now Paul Walters: What would you do? How would your holy city of irvine handle this?

  13. SomeHowSomeWay
    June 7, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Where do Cities get there $$$$ from? Answer: Sales tax and Property tax. Now what does that tell you?

    What happens when a busy makes money…they get taxed. Where does that money go…1% goes to the City.
    Business Tax Revenue:
    You have the Specturm…SA has Main Place: adv Irv. You have an Auto Mall…SA had one over 1/2 empty: adv Irv. You have a downtown with high rise…so does SA…your high rises are field with businesses and residence…SAs are filled with, ummmmmmmmm City, County, State and Federal Agencies…last I knew Government Agencies don’t make $$$$ and don’t pay taxes: adv Irv. You have Irvine Market Place, East of airport to Jamboree (both side of the 405), “Great Park”, golf courses, whatever else I am missing…SA has, ummmmmmmm ummmmmmmmm ummmmmmmm mom and pop shops everywhere, oh yeah Main/MacArthur??: adv Irv. SA has to give businesses tax breaks just to come here (that is the City tring to make things look and be better) and the most business in SA are cash businesses.

    What do you pay twice a year…how much is the bed tax for hotels…how much more in taxes do apartments pay?
    Property Tax Revenue:
    You have a higher property tax…SA has the state normal: adv Irv.
    You have (going by what you said) over 50% rentals which get taxed more than a regular house…SA has County, State and Federal subsidised housing throughout the whole City.

    You have HOAs (and Mello Roos) which take care of what, 50% + of all green belts, trees, grass, shrubs, flowers, sidewalks, streets, parks, schools and whatever else I am missing…SA has none: adv Irv.

    Your residence make more $$$$ + spend more $$$$ = Irvine brings in more $$$$.
    Your property costs more $$$$ + higher property tax + HOA/Mello Roos = Irvine brings in more $$$$.

    The effort for all of OC is to keep the trash in SA…everyone always takes or puts their trash somewhere, take a guess where it goes? The trash is brought to SA from surrounding Cities, Orange County, State of California and United States of America…the trash costs $$$$ and doesn’t look pretty, trash doesn’t bring in $$$$.
    Come on Mr Walters (ahhhhhhhhhhhh, sorry Mr Chmielewski) How would YOU do things better?

    • June 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

      Maybe Santa Ana ought to start following Irvine’s lead. I had an office in Santa Ana. Figuring out the business license tax was time consuming and complex. In Irvine, the business license is $50. It’s $50 for me and $50 for Broadcom.

      But from this and earlier comments, it sounds to me like you’re making a connection of high crime rates to a high number of undocumented immigrants.

      What would I do? Mirror the operations of Irvine as much as I could. Yes, some things are impossible.

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