A look back at Chico's top stories of the year

Chico >> As 2016 ends, its worth taking time to look back on the year that has passed.

As we do every year, the newsroom of the Enterprise-Record collected a list of the top stories of the past 12 months, and picked the 10 best.

We began to count them down today, with numbers 10 through six. Numbers five through one will be published in this space Saturday.

10: Turning the corner on crime?

The Chico Police Department in April reported that the city’s crime rate increased 4 percent in 2015 when compared to the previous year. Police Chief Mike O’Brien said at a press conference that the increase was not unexpected, noting that the jump accurately measured the city’s temperature on perceived criminal activity.

But at that same meeting O’Brien, who was appointed police chief in mid-2015, said the early months of 2016 showed positive signs. Crime, he said, was down 9 percent in the first three months of the year, compared with the same period in 2015.

Jump forward three more months, and the Police Department reported that the city’s crime rate was down 10 percent from January through June. Robberies were cut in half. Assaults dropped in numbers, and burglaries and thefts also showed decreases.

O’Brien said the mid-year 2016 numbers could partly be attributed to officers and staff implementing the department’s community policing model. Further, the Police Department hired more than a dozen police officers in 2015, and in re-established its Target Team, a specialty…

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