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Follow-up: ELB Had Seven Car Burglaries Coinciding With ELB School Events in Jan-Feb

Increased presence by LBPD & school security averted more since Feb 23...until March 19 car theft at Millikan

(March 22, 2002) -- Following up on a story we broke yesterday (after being alerted by an ELB reader, thank you), has learned that in addition to a March 19 car theft coinciding with a Millikan High "open house, ELB had seven (reported) car burglaries coinciding with various ELB school events in January and February, 2002.

LBPD Sgt. Lenny Gaeta told that seven car break-ins occurred in January and February, coinciding with various ELB after-school events. In response, LBPD and school security conducted stake outs and sting operations.

Since then, there have been no additional incidents from the end of February to date...until the full blown car theft from in front of ELB's Millikan High during an "open house" on March 19, when a 1997 Chevy Cavalier was stolen from the area of Vuelta Grande and Snowden.

Incumbent 5th district Councilwoman Jackie Kell once taught at Millikan High.

LBPD crime data posted on (see link below) show the 5th Council district had 427 auto burglaries (averaging more than one a day somewhere in the district) in 2001, an increase of 46.2% over 2000's level (292).

The data also show the 5th Council district had 377 car thefts, also averaging more than one a day, in 2001.

To view's detailed coverage, click LBPD 2001 Crime Data.

At the March 19 City Council meeting, 6th district (central city) Councilwoman Laura Richardson-Batts said she was "alarmed" LBPD's East Division (which handles crimes for a broad area east of Cherry Ave.) had more officers than LB's other police divisions.

"I've...seen reports that the auto theft crime for example is high on the east side, and I understand the need for support," Richardson-Batts said, but added "there's a serious difference...between a crime against a person, when a person is being shot at or raped or a person, they came from the movies and their car was stolen.,,so I'd like to see more information about those two areas and how we can bring them up to speed so we can provide service for the entire city and make sure people are taken care of."

Councilwoman Kell did not respond directly to Richardson-Batts' assertion, but Kell has recently said she now favors increasing LB's police levels. However, at the March 19 Council meeting, Kell did not pursue budgeted police increases after City Manager Henry Taboada advised deferring police increases, if any, to the forthcoming "budget process" (May-Sept. 2002). That would effectively defer any meaningful police increases into the next fiscal year (Oct 2002 to Sept. 2003).

5th district Council candidate John Donaldson noted the Council is ultimately responsible for not delivering officers indicated in City Hall's Police Dept. Strategic Plan preliminary staffing strategy, which indicates 1,023 two years ago.

"Jackie Kell has voted with city management, not with the public, on police," Mr. Donaldson said.

Although LBPD decides where to deploy officers, the City Council decides how many officers there are to deploy when the Council adopts City Hall's budget, which determines how many officers can be hired. Signal Hill budgets over 3.0 sworn officers per thousand residents and L.A. budgets closer to 2.5. In Sept. 2001 (after Sept. 11) LB's City Council budgeted roughly 1.93-1.98 officers per thousand residents (depending on whether one uses the 2000 federal census or CA's 2001 population update which includes a projected undercount).

At the March 19 City Council meeting, LB City Auditor Gary Burroughs delivered a report indicating that although the Council budgeted 913.25 officers, LB actually had (as of Feb. 20) only 770 working sworn officers on force. The difference is attributable to disabled, non-career and disabled officers on payroll.

Auditor Burroughs and City Manager Taboada have recently indicated they now plan to "revise" City Hall's Police Strategic Plan.

As reported by, LB total reported crimes increased in every Council district in 2001 over 2000 levels.

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