Crime rates are down in Desert Hot Springs despite recent string of shootings

Crime rates are down in Desert Hot Springs despite recent string of shootings

Olivia Sandusky

Over the last week, Desert Hot Springs police responded to multiple calls of shots fired.

One on Calle Las Tiendas on July 8th, another on 6th Street on Sunday, and an overnight shooting Wednesday morning that sent two men to the hospital. 

Members of the community say this pattern isn’t uncommon.

“You know typically when you hear of a string of shootings, the first thing you think of is oh no, not again. We seem to have a string of shootings every three to four years,” said Kephyan Sheppard, a pastor at Word of Life Fellowship center in Desert Hot Springs.

But according to police data, crime numbers in Desert Hot Springs are substantially lower than 2019, however the city did see a sharp increase in May.

Chief Henson says domestic violence crimes have also been on the rise during the pandemic.

“I understand it’s a financial hardship, and with financial hardship comes tension at the home, depression, stress which has led to an increase in domestic violence. If you’re in that situation, I recommend you leave your home and go for a walk,” said Chief Henson.

A report by the department also shows the city had a 15 percent reduction of violent and property crimes from 2018, making it the third consecutive year the area has trended downward.

“We have doubled the police force that we’ve had out on patrol on a daily basis, as well as a full detective division,” said Chief Henson.

Despite recent events, residents like Pastor Sheppard feel it’s time for the area’s reputation to change.

“I think it’s unfair, and I think it’s unfortunate. Being a life long valley resident I can tell you we all know these things happen in every city, but for whatever reason whenever it happens in DHS it’s like oh my goodness it’s happening in DHS again. A lot of it is warranted because of the past, but this last five years have been phenomenal,” said Sheppard.