Echoing state and national trends, the release of the 2015 complete crime statistics for Long Beach show an upward shift in violent and property crime, though the city is quick to note that the 2015 crime rate is relatively low compared to overall historical crime statistics.
In all, “crimes against persons” increased 15.9 percent compared to 2014, violent crime increased 18.8 percent and property crime increased 15.4 percent, according to the year-end statistics. Specifically, aggravated assaults increased 18.9 percent, and 17 of the 36 murders last year were gang-related.
Some decreases in crime were seen as well, specifically in four property crime categories: residential burglary (11 percent decrease), garage burglary (7.2 percent decrease), commercial burglary (12.1 percent decrease) and arson (8.2 percent decrease.) Overall, the crime is down from historic highs in the early 1990s, as the chart below displays.
Chart courtesy of the LBPD.
“Police chiefs across the state are concerned about these crime increases,” said Long Beach Police Department Chief of Police Robert Luna in a statement. “We are committed to serving our community, reducing crime, continuing to build public safety partnerships, and striving to achieve a safe city for all.”
The statistics are largely similar to those evaluated in an article by the Post a month ago, detailing the year in crime. That same month, an article by the Los Angeles Times showed that all categories of crime rose across the city in 2015, the first time in more than a decade.
Long Beach’s neighbor to the north saw a 19.9 percent increase in violent crime and a 10.3 percent increase in property crime through December 26, compared with the same period last year, according to Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) data.
Luna said one possibility for the spike in crime could be attributed to legislative changes.
“With these increases across the region, experts are currently debating the correlation between spikes in crime and legislative changes, such as Proposition 47, AB109, and Proposition 36 which reduced prison and jail populations and reduced many felony crimes to misdemeanors, thereby leaving more offenders on the street,” Luna stated. “These changes are viewed as having a negative impact on our ability to manage crime and without additional county and state support for alternatives to incarceration, criminal activity is expected to continue to rise.”
With close to 300 shootings reported in Long Beach in 2015, the LBPD is promoting resources available to help deter crimes in 2016, including their public safety continuum, education and outreach and promoting the “See Something, Say Something” mode of thinking.