- Reporters Desk
Long Beach, LA See Overall Drop in Violent Crime
Officials Worry About Rise in Assaults
By Crystal Niebla, Editorial Intern
Violent crimes rates in Harbor Area communities dropped, but aggravated assaults jumped 14 percent in Greater Los Angeles this past, officials stated.
The Los Angeles Police Department reported that violent crime increased for the first time in more than a decade in the city as a whole. The increase in violent crime was led by a 24 percent increase in aggravated assaults between 2013 and 2014. The total violent crime rate in Los Angeles increased by 14.3 percent within between 2013 and 2014. Overall, however, the violent crime rates have decreased by 40.5 percent within a nine-year time frame of 2005 to 2014.
The LAPD found that property crime has decreased by 30.2 percent within the nine years. Between 2013 and 2014, property crime decreased by 4.6 percent in Los Angeles.
In the City of Carson, Part One crimes, those the FBI ranks as the most serious, such as murder, decreased by 6.2 percent between 2013 and 2014, according Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department preliminary data. Between 2009 and 2014, these crimes decreased by 13.6 percent.
Carson’s violent crime rate decreased by 9.8 percent the between 2013 and 2014 and 28.4 percent in a five-year frame of 2009 to 2014. The city’s property crime followed with a decline of 5.6 percent between 2013 and 2014 and 10.6 percent between the five-year frame.
For the City of Long Beach, the Long Beach Police Department indicated that the city experienced its lowest violent crime rates in 42 years for 2014, according to a LBPD report.
In the 2014 State of the City address on Jan. 13, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia mentioned that crime rate “continues to be a major challenge” in Central (and North) Long Beach, where poverty and unemployment rates are notably higher than the city as a whole.
Garcia said via email that in the long term, the most important thing Long Beach can do is support economic development and education.
“When young people are able to receive a quality education and they have economic opportunities, they are much less likely to want to participate in criminal violence,” he said. “We have to combat poverty to get at the roots of this issue.”
Between 2013 and 2014, violent crime statistics decreased by 3.2 percent, according to LBPD data. Compared to a five-year average between 2009 and 2014, violent crime decreased by 17.8 percent. Total Part One crimes in Long Beach decreased by 4.6 percent between 2013 and 2014 and 6.3 percent compared to the five-year average.
Property crime statistics decreased by 4.8 percent and 3.8 percent compared to the five-year average.
LBPD Chief Robert Luna attributes the decrease in crime to the “team effort” of the community, city departments and the Long Beach police force.
Long Beach had 23 murders in 2014, compared to 33 in 2013 – a 30.3 percent decrease, according to the LBPD report. Fourteen of the murders investigated were gang related.
Long Beach City Prosecutor Douglas Haubert said the FBI reports that 48 percent of all violent crime is gang related.
“So, I know that the efforts we’re making to reduce gang activity is paying off dividends and is helping to reduce violent crime in Long Beach,” Haubert said.
Haubert said his office works closely with the LBPD with gang suppression and prevention.
“We’re trying to prevent kids from ever joining a gang by making sure that they’re in school every day, by making neighborhoods safer and trying to intervene at the earlier stages with at-risk youth,” he said.
One way Haubert implemented gang intervention was through the Parent Accountability and Chronic Truancy Program, which holds parent and guardians liable if children fail to attend school, according to Haubert’s website. Parents may face criminal prosecution.
Although gang prevention and intervention programs are not the sole contributors of decreasing violent crime, Haubert said if Long Beach focuses on at-risk youth during fifth, sixth and seventh grades, they can defer for gangs from recruiting youths because they would be in school every day.
“[Youths are] going to get an education because they’ll have ways of supporting themselves and their families without being involved in criminal activity and the public gets a more work-ready workforce,” Haubert said.