News / Analysis
Citywide LB 2003 Crime Stats Show Crime Drops Since '02 But Increases In Most Categories Since 2000; Detailed Breakouts By Council Districts & Neighborhoods Pending
Part 1 Crimes Against Persons
(February 7, 2004) -- Was Long Beach safer in 2003 than it was in 2000?
LB City Hall has released 2003 crime statistics cumulated citywide (i.e. combining safe and less safe parts of city). They show that LB crime dropped in many important categories in 2003 compared to 2002...a period that coincides with LBPD Chief Anthony Batts taking office in October 2002. Chief Batts instituted changes that effectively allowed LBPD to put more officers on the street and concentrate resources on violent crime.
However, a comparison by LBReport.com shows that LB crime has increased in most categories since 2000.
City Hall and traditional media outlets usually report crime stats by comparing the year just ended with the one before it. However, LBReport.com has gone further...comparing LB's 2003 crime stats with those from 2000...and these figures sometimes tell a different story...and we believe they are more meaningful:
- LB's murders dropped significantly in 2003 from 67 to 50...putting them roughly where they were (actually slightly increased) from 2001 (49) and 2000 (49).
- Total reported 2003 crimes, including total Part 1 (violent/serious) and Part 2 (other crimes), dropped from 2002 levels by roughly 4%...but in both categories the totals are higher than they were in 2000.
- Auto burglaries dropped by 14.8% in 2003 from 2002 but have increased 10.6% citywide since 2000, 337 more in 2003 than in 2000 (averaging more than one additional car a day burgled somewhere in LB).
- Residential burglaries dropped a whopping 25.3% from 2002 (522 fewer, averaging roughly 1.5 fewer per day) and in 2003 were actually below 2001 levels.
- Commercial burglaries rose by 21.3% above 2002's level (increasing by an average of roughly one more every other day.)
- While aggravated assaults dropped slightly in 2003 from 2002 levels, they are up 30% since 2000.
- Auto thefts citywide increased only slightly in 2003 over 2002...but have increased by 5.7% since 2000, amounting to 201 more cars stolen, an additional car stolen about every other day somewhere in LB compared to 2000.
Comparing percentage increase/decrease figures over several years requires an important caveat. During the same period, LB's citywide population increased. That means that when crime totals appear roughly the same, there has actually been a per capita decrease. According to CA's Dept. of Finance Demographic Research Unit, LB's 2000 census count was 461,522, and on January 1, 2003 LB's citywide population was 481,000...an increase of 4.2% over 2000.
As LBReport.com has previously noted, citywide crime data have an inherent and unavoidable weakness: they combine relatively safe areas with less safe areas, meaning they may mask areas that are disproportionately crime impacted.
City Hall traditionally releases detailed crime breakouts by Council district and neighborhood size reporting districts within a few weeks of releasing citywide data. As in previous years, LBReport.com will post these data when they become available.
One other caveat: reported crime figures sometimes change after initially reported, although not usually by many. Some crimes initially categorized as unrelated to LB, or vice versa, are recalculated, and other statistical amendments can produce slightly different totals.
|Red=increase||Green=decrease||Note: LB pop. increased 4.2% 2000-2003|