Today, the Long Beach Police Department announced the 2021 year-end crime statistics. Similar to other cities across the nation, the Long Beach community experienced an increase in crime in 2021. In order to meet the challenges posed in 2021, the Long Beach Police Department explored and utilized new resources to better serve the community and fulfill the Department’s vision to provide a safe city for all people.
From January through December, Total Part 1 crimes under the Department of Justice Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program remained relatively flat; however, overall violent crime increased by 7.7%, with a zero percent increase in murder and 11.2% increase in aggravated assaults. While violent crime has increased over the last year, historically violent crime in Long Beach is substantially down over the past 30 years, despite an increase in the population.
Property crime slightly decreased compared to 2020. Most of the decrease is attributed to: petty thefts which declined by 54.1%; garage burglaries, which declined by 37.1%; commercial burglaries, which declined by 26.8%; and bike thefts, which declined by 21.9%. 2021 statistics are preliminary and subject to further analysis and revision. The final 2021 numbers to be reported to the UCR Program will be formally announced at a later date.
“While most major cities in our country experienced an increase in murders compared to 2020, the murder rate in Long Beach did not increase,” said Chief of Police Wally Hebeish. “This is in large part due to the overwhelming efforts of our police officers and professional staff. That being said, every murder is a tragedy and one life lost to violent crime is one too many. We will continue to work with City and community partners to provide public safety while also exploring the fundamental causes of violent crime.”
The Long Beach Police Department continues to focus on building community partnerships, using intelligence led policing and data, and implementing new technology like the incoming records management system, to allow for better identification and analysis of crime trends. Below were areas of continued focus for the Police Department in 2021 to help reduce the increase in crime.
Gun Violence Prevention
Overall gun arrests are up 36%, while arrests overall are down 18.9%. To combat violent crime and an increase in shootings, the Police Department facilitated a Community Safety and Gun Violence Roundtable in June 2021 that introduced the Coordinated Response Team (CRT) efforts to reduce gun violence. The CRT continues to attend community outreach events to ensure the community knows why they are taking enforcement action and keeping them informed of their progress. In the time since its inception, CRT has seized over 150 firearms. As a whole, the Department has seized a total of 1,057 firearms, a 37.3% increase from 2020. Since implementation of this program, the rate of violent crime has continued to decrease. The Department also hosted a gun buyback event, which resulted in a total of 280 firearms being removed from the community.
At the end of 2021, the Long Beach Police Department has reported a 50% decrease in shootings since December 2020, significantly impacting the spike seen earlier in 2021. While gun violence continues to be at an increased level, it has been substantially reduced over the course of 2021 through the various strategies implemented by the Police Department and supporting departments.
As part of the Police Department’s ongoing commitment to building strong relationships within Long Beach, community engagement continues to be a priority. In 2021, the Department hosted a Police Explorer Academy, invited the Community Advisory Committee to participate in the Community Police Academy, organized several catalytic converter etching events, and participated in National Night Out and Faith and Blue events citywide. The Department’s patrol divisions have been proactively reaching out to the community, organizing events such as Coffee with a Cop and virtual commander forums, to create new opportunities for officers and neighbors to talk and collectively address community concerns. The Department also launched the Neighborhood Walks program which encourages officers to walk in Long Beach neighborhoods, interact with residents and businesses, and build strong relationships. This program began in the Washington Neighborhood of West Division and then rotated to North Division and East Division. The Department plans to bring the program to South Division next and then return to each of the four patrol divisions in 2022.
Accountability & Transparency
The Police Department’s Office of Constitutional Policing established the Community Advisory Committee to review policies that impact community-police interactions, including use of force policies. This year, the Department began working with the USC Price Safe Communities Institute in the development and participation of the Law Enforcement Work Inquiry System (LEWIS), which tracks all police officers who were terminated or resigned due to misconduct, allowing prospective hiring agencies access to an officer’s prior history. The Department fully implemented the Early Intervention Program (EIPRO) in Patrol to give supervisors the ability to address concerning behaviors exhibited by officers before they become issues of potential misconduct and allow officers the ability to improve areas in which they are deficient. Bias-Free Policing has been implemented and training is ongoing, and the Department recently entered into an agreement with Policing Equity Inc. (PE) to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the Department’s Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) and crime data.
Mental Health Evaluation and Wellness
The Department’s Community Outreach, Response, and Events (CORE) Section, which consists of the Quality of Life (QOL) Team and the Mental Evaluation Team (MET), made over 8,200 contacts offering services to persons experiencing homelessness, resulting in temporary housing for 200 individuals and permanent housing for 60individuals. Additionally, the QOL team participated in 690 scheduled encampment clean-ups throughout the City during the year to further assist in offering services to people experiencing homelessness and support City partners in removing trash and hazardous materials from the area. In partnership with the Guidance Center, the Department also continued to participate in the Clinician in Jail Program, which provides mental health and linkage services in the Long Beach City Jail.
In June 2021, the City Council authorized $5 million for a Safety Recovery Plan designed to address the significant increase in gun violence seen in the first part of 2021. That plan included $4.575 million for the Coordinated Response Team, Neighbor Walks program, keeping calls for service at current levels, additional policing in business districts, and additional bike units, among other one-time enhancements. It also included $425,000 for a variety of violence prevention programs in multiple departments.
Throughout 2021, the Department continued to focus attention on implementing new and innovative approaches to law enforcement. In coordination with the Fire and Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications Departments, the Police Department successfully implemented an Integrated Medical Response to address patients who may be in distress due to intoxication or mental illness, with the goal of safely facilitating medical intervention.
Moving into 2022, the Long Beach Police Department remains committed to the safety and well-being of all residents and visitors. The Department understands that public safety is a shared responsibility, and now more than ever, engagement and partnership with the community is critical to reducing crime. The Department continues to maximize technology to create efficiencies while working with regional, state and federal law enforcement partners to impact crime and enhance the quality of life in the City of Long Beach.
About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 470,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. As a full-service charter city, Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly-rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly-respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 171 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.
About Long Beach Police Department
The mission of the Long Beach Police Department is to enhance public safety through partnerships, while providing a safe City for all people. For more information on the Police Department, please visit us at www.longbeach.gov/police. Follow us on social media to stay connected: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.