Major crimes in Merced are up almost 20% this year. That's according to department statistics that compared this year to 2011.
Theft is up 26% in Merced. Rape is up 44% since 2011. Robbery is up 59% over the same time.
KSEE24 spoke with Merced's Chief of Police Wednesday. He says the down economy, early prisoner release, and fewer cops on the street are all adding to the rise in crime.
The chief says police made concessions to prevent layoffs. Now they're looking for financial help from City Hall.