LB's Unmentionable Crime Stats
(January 24, 2006) -- LB City Hall has again told the public that crime is lower than it was the year before. And it says crime has declined for three years in a row. We post City Hall's release text verbatim below.
LBReport.com believes that as presented, City Hall's figures are incomplete. We believe politics are trumping facts and we don't believe LBPD is to blame.
Two years ago in 2004, as LB was about to enter its last election cycle (Council district elections in district 2, 4, 6 and 8), LB City Hall ended its practice of releasing annual crime statistics indicated by City Council districts. Those data are no longer released. Instead, City Hall hands news outlets only "citywide" crime stats.
To our knowledge, no LB print media outlet has objected to this publicly. We objected to it in 2004 and we object to it again.
The official explanation for not providing Council district crime data doesn't wash. LBPD says crime by Council district contain inaccuracies because LBPD records crime by neighborhood-size reporting districts that in some cases cross Council district boundaries. That is a non-problem, fixable with an explanatory asterisk or (more time consuming) double-checking addresses for the few blocks involved.
The truth is, the "citywide" crime stats are less reflective of reality because they homogenize LB's widely divergent high and low crime areas. They mask disproportionately crime-impacted Council districts.
Even if crime is "down" in the higher crime areas (and we hope it is), someone at City Hall is making it harder than necessary for the public to compare relative crime levels in different Council districts.
For the record, during Mayor O'Neill's incumbency, LB became less safe citywide in terms of violent crimes per capita than New York City. (Source: FBI 04 crime data analyzed by Morgan-Quitno press). This is no surprise since Mayor O'Neill did the opposite of what NYC Mayor Rudi Giuliani did. Mayor Giuliani bolstered police and brought prosperity. Mayor O'Neill helped shortchange the public on police, invited nearly unrestrained development and density, preferred "pep rallies" that misstated the real State of the City and now hands taxpayers the bill (for police AND libraries) as she leaves office.
Her friends and enablers applauded this. They, and ultimately Councilmembers who didn't stand up to what the Mayor wanted, left LB with a thinner blue line than taxpayers deserve.
All of this makes LBPD's accomplishments especially worthy of attention. Under Chief Anthony Batts, LBPD produced significant citywide crime decreases in a tough environment. In human terms, that means fewer citywide crime victims. That is a professional success and a moral victory.
City Hall quietly but routinely releases annual crime data by neighborhood-size reporting districts after releasing "citywide" crime data. It's less user-friendly than Council-district reports...but we'll get hold of it and post it when it's released.
[begin City Hall release text]
LONG BEACH CRIME RATES DROP FOR THIRD YEAR IN A ROW
The City of Long Beach experienced a decrease of 7.6% in violent crimes, with a 5.8% reduction in overall reported crime during 2005, as compared to 2004. This marks the third consecutive year in a row that crime has gone down.
In response to the drop in violent crime, Chief of Police Anthony W. Batts said, “One year is a good year. Two years in a row, indicates we are on the right track. Three years of reduced crime is a true testament to this organization and the citizens who have stepped up for their city. This year we have seen some major investigations that resulted in arrests of criminals who have caused significant harm to our community. Working with the FBI we have impacted street gangs at the highest level. Through endeavors like Operation Safe Passage and organized crime sweeps, we have placed more officers on the street where they are needed. These types of investigations, while resource intensive, have given us the intended results.”
The year 2005 included the following highlights:
- A major local gang’s leadership was crippled
- 223 guns removed from the streets
- Gang members arrested by the Gang and Violent Crimes Division increased by 45%
- 282 pounds of illicit drugs were seized by the Narcotics Section
- For the first time since 2002, auto thefts have decreased
- Nine "cold case" homicides were solved
"This is great news. The decline of crime in our community for three consecutive years is a testimony to the dedication of our police officers, under the leadership of Chief Tony Batts. We are fortunate for the extraordinary commitment of our police force in keeping our community safe. We still have more to do but three years of decline shows we are certainly on the path to continued success," said Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill.
"The Department, realizing our limited resources, continually strives to enhance our efficiency and effectiveness by working smarter. The Department has partnered with outside law enforcement agencies at many levels, from local neighboring cities to international authorities," said Chief Batts. "I am so proud of the employees of this Department. They have done an outstanding job of sending predators that victimize our citizens to jail, and confiscating weapons and drugs that might have landed in the hands of our youth.
"Although the Department has been aggressive in the fight against violent crime, we have also reduced property crimes by 3.4% reduction. Through its ongoing efforts and outreach programs to raise awareness and educate the community, the Department is confident we will see further declines in the future," Chief Batts continued.
The Department is also taking advantage of the latest that technology has to offer. Each officer is fully trained in the use and deployment of tasers. The training and utilization of this highly effective tool has resulted in fewer injuries to both officers and suspects, keeping officers out on the street to fight crime.
The following are the year-end statistics for 2005.
Part I crimes include the following crimes reported to the State Bureau of Criminal Statistics:
|TYPE OF CRIME||Year End 2004||Year End 2005||% Change|
|Part I Crimes Against Persons|
|AGGRAVATED ASSAULT||2035||1859||-8.6%||Part I Crimes Against Property
|TOTAL PART I CRIMES||18,424||17,016||-7.6%|
|TOTAL PART II CRIMES||13,407||12,938||-3.4%|
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