Off the 99 podcast: Crime trends in Merced

The city of Merced's got plenty of battles to fight: high unemployment, continuing home foreclosures, an economy stuck in neutral.

But one local social ill has let up, it seems.

The city posted a 10 percent decrease in violent crime between 2008 and 2009. Most crimes -- violent and property -- went down 15 percent last year as well. It was the largest dip in overall crime reported in more than 10 years.

In 2000, 79 out of every 1,000 people fell victim to a crime in Merced. Last year, the crime rate fell to 53 for every 1,000 people.

These stats come from Merced Police Department data that Sun-Star reporter Victor Patton examined. This week, we invite our newsroom comrade into the studio to talk about crime in the streets of Merced.