The Merced Police Department reports a significant uptick in crime in 2012. According to new statistics, overall crime jumped by 25% last year.
Katie Yawger has lived in Merced for 30 years. She says crime is plaguing the streets more than ever before.
"It worries me and it upsets me too because Merced is a nice town," says Yawger.
"I've seen a big increase in it. You see it in the papers all the time. People are dying, people are getting robbed. It's a lot, it's getting crazy," says Jimmy Rivera.
In a year's time, crime in the city spiked 25%.
Merced Police Chief Norman Andrade says, "Anytime your statistics in crime go up, it's not good news. Our goal is to obviously bring them down and keep them down."
Numbers surged in every category of violent crime, including murder, rape and theft. The biggest jump was in robberies. In 2011, 149 robberies were reported. That number rose to 215 in 2012. That's a 44% increase. Chief Andrade says the upswing isn't surprising.
"It's the trickle down effect that's causing us some issues."
He says for one, it's the economy.
"A lot of people are doing things they wouldn't normally do because they're looking for money."
Chief Andrade also blames AB 109.
"What happens is the folks that would ordinarily be kept in jail are being kicked out and so they're repeatedly doing those crimes."
Then there's budget cuts. Currently 84 officers serve on the city's force. That's down from 111 six years ago. Less officers, means more opportunity to break the law.
"People need to be aware just for their own safety but not to the point where they need to lock the doors and close all the windows and never go out again," says Chief Andrade.
Yawger says the numbers are eye-opening and now hopes the city will do all it can to reverse this trend.
"Something is going to happen. We're going to have to find a solution."