In one of Orange County’s safest cities, voters still think about crime. So do Republican campaigns for federal office.
The GOP candidates running for Congress in Central California are competing for voters’ attention over and over again. But the issue of crime isn’t among the top-tier of the more than 20 top-tier issues for voters here.
Orange County has the nation’s second-best public hospital, ranked No. 1 in the nation for hospital safety, according to Medicare’s National Patient Safety Index. And it has more doctors per capita than any other county in the nation.
Despite that, the number of violent crime incidents in the county so far in 2013 is near its record low.
And while the Republican candidates were working together in an unusually personal way, they were also meeting for their second debate in central California Tuesday night.
Here are five things to look out for in the debate, which is taking place almost one year to the day after the last GOP debate in the county.
1: The numbers
“Violent crime” in Orange County fell for the first time since 2008 at the end of last year, according to data from FBI’s crime statistics division. The drop comes after the two previous years were above average.
It’s the first time that the statistics division has reported a decline in the number of violent crime incidents in a year since 2005, according to agency officials.
In 2007, the number of violent crime incidents increased by nearly 25 percent, meaning there was double-digit increase in incidents compared with the previous year.
In total, there were 2,117 violent crime incidents in 2013, down from 2,928 in 2012 and 2,859 in 2011.
2: The candidates
The candidates are divided into two groups for the first and only debate.
Among those in the top 10 of the recent NBC/Marist polls, six are Republicans and four are registered Democrats. Six of them are also running in statewide races.
One of the Republican candidates, former state Sen. Jeff Klein of Rancho Cucamonga, is the