Santa Barbara County economy threatened by gangs, UCSB researcher says

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Researchers say rising gang activity and violent crime are threatening Santa Barbara County’s economy, which is driven by tourism and retirees.

UCSB Economic Forecast Project executive director Bill Watkins says crime and gangs could “dramatically impact the quality of life for all Santa Barbara County residents.”

The University of California, Santa Barbara, researcher says there should be a countywide plan to bring crime rates down and put gangs on the run, saying “gangs appear to be a major source” of violent crime in the county.

Homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults have risen from 1,311 incidents in 2000 to 1,804 incidents in 2004. The figures have remained constant since then.

Watkins says tourists and retirees must feel safe and “rising violent crime rates and headlines about violent crimes will not encourage a sense of security.”

Posted by on Apr 17 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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