|(August 31, 2019, 7:25 a.m.) -- Mayor Garcia's public narratives about crime in Long Beach don't mention the information you are about to read below. To our knowledge, no LB Councilmembers have discussed the matters below on their social network channels or in their emailed "newsletters" to constituents or at their neighborhood meetings. (If any readers can provide a recording or screen-shot demonstrating otherwise, please advise.) City staff, including LBPD brass, likewise don't mention the information (each fact sourced below) at community "budget" meetings.
On September 3, 2019 -- unless a City Council majority votes otherwise -- LB taxpayers will receive basically no increase in citywide deployable budgeted police officers beyond the level Mayor Garcia recommended and the Council (without dissent) approved/recommended one year ago. Here's what LB taxpayers have now and how it happened.
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|Below is a chart comparing per capita police levels budgeted by LB's Mayor/Council for LB taxpayers to the police levels provided by L.A. County's largest city (Los Angeles) and one of its smallest (Signal Hill.)
Various cities with varying densities and crime challenges provide differing per capita police levels for their taxpayers. There is no single "magic number" of appropriate police strength. LBPD Chief Luna has described LB's ratio (which LBPD doesn't set, the Council does) as "consistent with other police departments on the West Coast." LBREPORT.com notes that other west coast cities differ from Long Beach in terms of their density, gang involvements and other factors.
It is numerically undeniable that entering 2009, the City of LB provided LB taxpayers with roughly 2.0 officers per thousand residents while today, LB's current Mayor/Council provide LB taxpayers with roughly 1.6 officers per thousand residents, which is very roughly equivalent to the level outgoing Mayor Kell handed to incoming Mayor O'Neill in 1994.
The LB ratio doesn't include officers that the Council doesn't allocate or pay-for. That number is decided and paid for by various entities that contract and pay LBPD to provide police services for them at LB's Port, Airport, LBUSD, LBCC, LBTransit, L.A. County Carmelitos housing and Metro. Contracted officers aren't routinely available during their contracted shifts to respond to citywide needs calls for service. If the number of contracted officers were included, LB's FY19 budgeted police level would be 1.79 officers per thousand. In calculating the officer-to-population ratio, LBREPORT.com used the most recent updated population estimate for CA cities provided by the CA Dept.of Finance (May 2019 Report E-1.)
City management's FY20 budget, recommended by Mayor Garcia, proposes 851 total officers of which 97 are contracted to other entities (and not available for routine citywide deployment. That means the net effect for neighborhoods citywide is 754 budgeted sworn citywide deployable officers (851 total - 97 contracted = 754 budgeted sworn citywide deployable.)
As noted above, city management has indicated that the Council could fund bicycle response officers (that Mayor Garcia "recommended" in FY19 that weren't delivered) using "one time" Measure A funds for FYs 20 and 21.
Mayor Garcia and some Councilmembers have offered a narrative that LB crime is "down" or at some of its lowest levels in recent history and any perception to the contrary results from neighbors using social networks. This narrative doesn't deny any of the facts cited above. The "crime is down" narrative amounts to a diversion, an attempt to gain public acceptance for the status quo currently experienced in LB neighborhoods. Those are matters LB residents can decide in upcoming elections for five of nine Council districts (dist. 1, Nov. 2019, dists. 2, 4, 6 and 8 March 2020) plus the Measure A sales tax extension (March 2020.)
LBREPORT.com will separately publish a separate analysis showing that the crime stats offered by Mayor Garcia omit relevant data and don't provide a complete picture of crime impacting LB neighborhoods and taxpayers.
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