Oxnard, CA – A promising trend has emerged in Oxnard as the latest Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data indicate significantly reduced violent crime throughout the city. This continues a downward trend that began in 2017 and has continued through the first eight months of 2019. Through August 31st, the total number of reported violent crimes in Oxnard dropped by 14.9% compared to the first eight months of 2018. Oxnard has experienced a 25% reduction in homicides, a 21.1% reduction in robberies, and a 9.2% reduction in aggravated assaults.
“As we developed our 2019 department goals, we put a priority on continuing the three year reduction in crime,” said Chief of Police Scott Whitney, “Reducing violent crime will always be our highest priority and we will always look for new approaches, new strategies, and new partners to make our city safer.”
One of the innovative strategies implemented in Oxnard has been a partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. The Oxnard Police Department has teamed with these two agencies to arrest violent offenders that have an extensive criminal history and continue to commit violent crimes in the City. Since the task force formed, eight (8) violent offenders have been arrested and sentenced to federal prison.
In some cases, defendants have been subject to enhanced sentencing for various circumstances including being a prohibited person and possessing three or more firearms, possessing a modified weapon, possessing a high-capacity magazine, or having fired the weapon.
Several individual cases are listed below:
- Gilberto Aldana was arrested on September 12, 2017, and indicted by a federal grand jury on October 24, 2017. Aldana pleaded guilty on August 13, 2018, and was sentenced on October 29, 2018, to 92 months in prison.
- Camilo Flores was arrested on November 7, 2017, and indicted by a federal grand jury on December 15, 2017. Flores pleaded guilty on September 6, 2018, and was sentenced on December 20, 2018, to thirty months in prison.
- Joey Ixta was arrested on March 12, 2017, and indicted by a federal grand jury on May 5, 2017. Ixta pleaded guilty on February 12, 2018, and was sentenced on May 21, 2018, to 37 months in prison.
- George Glass was arrested on January 22, 2018, and indicted by a federal grand jury on February 16, 2018. Glass pleaded guilty on December 11, 2018, and was sentenced on 02/20/2019 to sixty months in federal prison.
- Sergio Zendejas was arrested on March 17, 2017, and was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 25, 2017. Zendejas pleaded guilty on July 24, 2017, and was sentenced on October 16, 2017, to 26 months in prison.
- Manuel Rivas was arrested on October 24, 2017, and plead guilty on January 22, 2018. He was sentenced on February 9, 2018, to 26 months in prison.
- Jose Viveros was arrested on November 6, 2018, and was indicted by a federal grand jury on November 20, 2018. Viveros was denied bail and is being held in federal custody awaiting trial.
- Steven Gutierrez was arrested on November 19, 2018, and plead guilty on April 1, 2019. He was sentenced on July 15, 2019, to 24 months in prison.
Many of the defendants are documented gang members that have a history of violent crime in Oxnard. Comments from Chief Whitney include, “There are only a small number of people in any community willing to commit violent crime. When we identify, arrest and incarcerate these prolific, violent offenders we often see an immediate reduction in serious crime. It makes the city safer for everyone. ”
Chief Whitney added, “Much credit goes to our officers, detectives and crime analysts that track these offenders. They quickly respond to the information we receive and to crime trends they identify. These gun arrests don’t happen by accident. They’re the result of good work, hard work, and teamwork. Our partners at the FBI and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department have been outstanding.”
One of the strategies the Police Department is implementing is based on the concept of Intelligence-Led Policing. The idea behind Intelligence-Led Policing is to gather information from both recent and historical crime trends as well as other various sources (community members, social media, officers, etc.). With that information, the Department can more efficiently direct resources to where it believes crime will take place. The Department is also able to direct resources to address the most serious offenders and disrupt their criminal activity. This program has shown great results in 2019; particularly with our Special Enforcement Unit (SEU). Through the first eight months of 2019, the SEU has recovered over 40 illegal firearms.
Community partnerships are also a vital component to the success of Intelligence-Led Policing. Residents who observe suspicious activity, know of criminal activity taking place, and who share that information with the police help to curb that criminal behavior and remove it from their neighborhoods. It also allows the residents to take ownership of their communities and it sends a powerful message to the criminal element that illegal activity won’t be tolerated in their neighborhoods.
As the Police Department was preparing this press release, there was a homicide on Saturday night, September 14, 2019, in south Oxnard.
Comments from Chief Whitney regarding that homicide include:
“It breaks our hearts and sickens our stomachs when a 17-year-old boy gets shot and killed. While we’re confident that we will make arrests in this case, we do need help from our community. There were witnesses to this incident that need to come forward.
More broadly, if you know someone in possession of a firearm that is involved in violent crime, please share that information with us. Looking the other way or seeking street justice doesn’t work. Too many innocent people get hurt.
Our family members and community leaders must talk to the young men in their neighborhoods to stop this type of violence. What drives much of it is retaliation and perceptions of being disrespected. For our neighborhoods to be safer for our young men, this needs to stop.”
Anyone with information regarding this case or other criminal activity is encouraged to contact the Oxnard Police Department at (805) 385-7600, or online via the Oxnard Police Department’s website: www.oxnardpd.org, and clicking on Report Suspicious Activity. You can remain anonymous if you choose to do so. You can also remain anonymous by calling the Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. You can also visit this site: www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org to submit a tip via text or email.