|Jan. 14 UPDATE: A few hours after LBREPORT.com reported our story below, LBPD's full year 2019 crime numbers (citywide and by LBPD Divisions) materialized on LBPD's website. LBREPORT.com will provide our analysis of the numbers separately.
(Jan. 13, 2020, 8:10 p.m.) -- The City of Long Beach, via LBPD, today (Jan. 13) issued a media release visible in full here that describes LB's 2019 crime stats in mainly narrative text ("a continuing trend in the overall reduction of citywide crime, compared to last year and our five-year average.") With few exceptions, it doesn't cite actual crime numbers. It doesn't provide information on multiple types of violent crimes and major property crimes. It describes selected crime stats and changes in sometimes vague verbal terms.
It doesn't provide any geographic information. It cites only "citywide" data (that numerically dilute crime levels in high crime areas with lower crime levels in other parts of the city.) It cites total violent crimes and total property crimes but doeesn't show the numbers of the multiple serious crimes comprising those two categories. .
The release acknowledges that although "violent crime" on a "citywide" basis is down by 8%, murders and rapes increased. There were 34 murders in 2019 compared to 30 in 2018 which the release says "continues to be a decrease when compared to overall historical crime statistics.". [LBREPORT.com's independent check of previous years' LBPD murder stats indicates that LB's 2019 murder total is the highest the past nine years (since 2010.]
The release indicates that roughly 44% of murders were gang-related and nearly 12% were domestic violence related.
[Scroll down for further.]
LBREPORT.com has previously noted that murders don't tell the full story. LBPD crime stats don't show the number of shootings (fatal, non-fatal, with no-persons hit or struck residences or vehicles.). Like most police agencies, LBPD includes shootings among "aggravated assaults." a category that can include bar fights with a beer bottle.
The release cites a "double-digit reduction" (no number cited) in aggravated assaults and "reductions" (no number specified) in robbery and six categories with "the most significant reductions [no numbers] in bike thefts, residential and garage burglaries and petty thefts of over $50;" [Prop 47 downgraded some crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, including thefts/robberies under $950, but these continnue to be itemized because they're still considered "Part 1" crimes. The level of crime doesn't matter; the type of crime determines whether a crime is separately itemized as a Part 1 crime; Thus bike thefts or a petty theft of someone's $2 reusable grocery bag are still separately itemized because they're still deemed Part 1 crimes. But by downgrading the crimes to misdemeanors,, Prop 47 may leave some victims or officers reluctant to make formal reports of these and other misdemeanor crimes, which may result in suppressing their reported numbers.]
LBPD routinely posts on its website crime stats each month showing numbers of multiple types of violent crime and major property crimes, for each LBPD "Division" (North, South, East and West)...but its December 2019 numbers aren't on LBPD's website [although one presumes LBPD has them since it can't calculate 2019 totals without them.]..
And while the release says the City now has four (instead of two) "quality of life" officers tasked to deal with issues involving homelessness, the release doesn't cite the numbers of "quality of life" crimes impacting LB neighborhoods in 2019. Some of those crimes are now classified as misdemeanors under Prop 47 and don't show up among LBPD itemized crime stats.
LBPD's Public Information Office tells LBREPORT.com that crime stats in greater details are expected to be released in the coming days and says this is consistent with previous practice.
The Jan. 13 narrative crime stat release comes one day before Mayor Robert Garcia is scheduled to deliver his "State of the City" message.
Jan. 15, 6:25 a.m.: Clarifier/details re Prop 47 effects added.]
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