|The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is the recipient of a portion of the Central Valley Rural Crime Grant. The Kern County Rural Crime Investigation Unit (RCIU ) is a cooperative program, administered by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. The amount of money received from the grant supports two Detectives, and a District Attorney Investigator. It also partially provides for the Sergeant and a Prosecutor. The Kern County Sheriff’s Office provides for an additional Senior Deputy and office space.
Before RCIU existed, an agricultural, livestock or oilfield related crime was usually reported to an outlying Substation. Very often, a Detective wasn’t assigned to the area and, in a large portion of the cases, there was little or no follow-up investigation. The industries’ lack of security and lack of any intentional crime prevention was also a factor that had to be addressed. Under-reporting of thefts and other rural crimes was prevalent. As cases grew more numerous, law enforcement had to develop strategies to deal with the problem of rural industrial theft. Historically, investigators knew the suspects in the rural industrial thefts were by-and-large experienced criminals who knew what they were stealing and how to sell the property. It was also clear that these criminals had no regard for boundaries between cities, counties or even states. The very nature of rural crime also had to be considered: it is easy to steal from a remote area when no one is around.
Out of these concerns and many others, the Central Valley Rural Crime Prevention Task Force was conceived and was eventually funded through a state grant. The Kern County Rural Crime Investigation Unit, working with the seven other counties, has made a substantial impact on rural crime. The eight county Detectives are in constant contact with each other. Once a criminal is identified, the other units are briefed on their Modus Operandi (MO) and location.
RCIU also spends countless hours addressing crime prevention efforts. From site security reviews to the Owner Applied Number Program, RCIU has been very successful in helping rural industries help themselves to reduce rural crime. Through these efforts, the problem of under-reporting of crimes has improved. When the unit first began operations, detectives literally had to look for cases. RCIU proved to be an educational resource to rural industries and other law enforcement personnel. Because of the educational efforts of RCIU, the unit’s caseload has grown to incredible numbers. On average RCIU recovers over $1 million is stolen property, per year.