Long Beach ended 2014 poised to achieve the lowest number of reported violent crimes in 42 years. When compared to 2013, the 2014 violent crime statistics reflect a decrease of 3.2%, with a 17.8% decrease as compared to the 5-year average. Property crime statistics also showed a 4.8% decrease, and a 3.8% decrease in the 5-year average. The Total Part 1 Crime reduction was 4.6%, and 6.3% as compared to the 5-year average.
“This ongoing reduction in crime reflects the City’s unwavering commitment to public safety,” noted Mayor Robert Garcia. “Reducing crime is a priority for the entire City, especially our Police Department and its dedicated employees.”
In the violent crime category, the Police Department anticipates that the final 2014 statistics, which will be available later this month, will reflect a 30.3% decrease from 2013 in the number of murders – 23 as opposed to 33 in 2013.* This is the lowest number of murders on record since statistics were first compiled in 1969. Fourteen of the 23 were investigated as gang related. The Homicide Detail solved 22 murders in 2014 with a clearance rate of 95.7%. The number of reported rapes and aggravated assaults are expected to show increases when compared to 2013, however, are still below the 5-year average by 7.4% and 8.1% respectively.
In the property crime category, reductions were seen in residential burglary (9.7%), auto burglary (7.6%), arson (36.5%), petty theft over $50 (14.4%) and grand theft auto (13.3%). Increases were seen in commercial burglary (4.5%) and thefts under $50 (14%).
Police Chief Robert Luna attributed the property crime reductions to an increase in community awareness, participation in crime prevention efforts, and to the professionalism and hard work of the men and women of the Long Beach Police Department.
“I am very proud of the efforts and outstanding commitment our employees demonstrate to the community they serve,” said Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, “We will continue to pursue effective crime reduction while building public trust in 2015. We must work together with other city departments and our community partners in a team effort to accomplish our collective goals of keeping our city safe.”
In addition, the City will be undertaking a number of initiatives related to policing. Police Chief Luna stated that efforts are underway to implement a body camera pilot program in the Long Beach Police Department. As part of the Fiscal Year 2015 adopted budget, the city council approved non-recurring funds to support a body camera pilot program. A body-worn camera committee has been underway for approximately one year studying the various operational policies and financial effects of instituting body cameras.
To augment patrol operations, the Police Department deployed additional less-lethal equipment. In 2014, the less lethal beanbag shotgun was replaced with the 40-millimeter less lethal launcher and deployed to the Patrol Divisions allowing for increased accessibility to officers in the field.
The City will also be enhancing the investigatory capabilities of the Citizen’s Police Complaint Commission, an independent investigative commission, through the addition of an investigator position. The addition of an investigator position will afford the Commission additional resources to conduct investigations and follow-up on complaints and other business addressed to the Commission.
In 2015, the Police Department will also enhance communication efforts to better explain the City’s extensive review process for any and all use of force incidents, as well as enhance educational information for the public on what to do in the event of contact with a police officer.
L.B.P.D. continued to partner with law enforcement agencies at the local, county, state and federal levels to leverage available resources to impact crime in Long Beach. The Police Department continues to focus attention on the use of social media as a conduit to improving communication with the community, including the Go LBPD mobile application (www.longbeach.gov/tsd/golongbeachapps) to streamline the community’s access to the Police Department’s social networking tools. To receive information of news stories, alerts and events, visit: www.nixle.com or www.facebook.com/longbeachpd.ca or @LongBeachPD_CA on Twitter.