Morro Bay is one of SLO County’s safest spots

Morro Bay
Morro Bay

Looking for a safe place to live?

Consider Morro Bay.

The coastal town was the only city in San Luis Obispo County last year with crime rates for serious crimes that were lower than rates in similarly-sized cities nationwide, the data shows. Morro Bay also seems to have less than its share of crime within the county, despite a sharp increase in thefts last year.

Since 2004, crimes reported in Morro Bay equated to about 2.7 percent of all serious crimes reported in San Luis Obispo County, although the city makes up 3.7 percent of the total county population.

The numbers only reflect reports of crimes — homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and vehicle theft — and not whether the report resulted in a criminal conviction.

In 2014, the city reported no homicides, one rape, one robbery, 16 aggravated assaults, 54 burglaries, 175 thefts and 10 vehicle thefts.

The city has not had a homicide in 10 years, though a cold case suspected to be homicide from 2009 is pending trial in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

Rapes have remained low, as well. With one reported in 2014, Morro Bay had the lowest rate of reported rapes per 10,000 residents of all incorporated cities of the county.

Robberies are also seldom reported in the city. The most reported robberies in the past 10 years were in 2006 and 2012, when four were reported. Last year’s sole robbery equaled a rate of less than one robbery per 10,000 residents. The city’s estimated population last year was 10,544 people.

The city saw spikes of aggravated assaults in 2010 and 2013, when 27 serious assaults were reported, but last year, aggravated assaults fell below the national rate for similar cities. Burglaries have varied in number every year since 2004, increasing somewhat in the past four years but remaining below the national rate for similar cities.

Vehicle thefts have remained low compared with other San Luis Obispo County cities despite increasing since 2011.

Thefts, however, spiked by 67 percent last year. More thefts were reported in 2014 than any year since 2004.

Police Chief Amy Christey wrote in an email that the dramatic increase in thefts was largely because of a string of them by people who have since been arrested for stealing items from unlocked cars and businesses.

“Single year ‘spikes’ are difficult to diagnose, given that it often takes only a few cases to throw our numbers off,” Christey wrote.