Long Beach experienced a slight increase in crime during the first half of this year, compared to the same time period last year, with numbers showing an 8 percent increase in violent crime, according to the Long Beach Police Department's (LBPD) latest crime statistics. That number includes murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults. The number of arson-related cases also appears to have doubled.
So far this year, the city experienced 15 murders, 109 cases of reported rapes, 540 reported robberies and 744 reported aggravated assaults, according to the LBPD's citywide statistics, collected from January to June 2016. The reports reflected increases by 15.3 percent, 13.5 percent, 15.8 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.
When compared to the previous five years, 2016 saw an 11.5 percent increase in violent crime, the report showed.
The biggest surge in property crime appeared to be the number of reported cases of arson (44 cases) this year compared to 2015 (23 cases) during the same time—a 91.3 percent increase.
The number of incidents involving the theft of items under $50 also increased significantly, with police reporting 1,755 cases between January and June this year, compared to 1,483 cases during the same time frame last year. The difference showed an 18.3 percent increase from last year and a 56.8 percent increase over the previous five years.
However, crime in all categories did not increase. The city did experienced a decrease in reported commercial and auto burglaries, grand theft, theft of items valued at more than $50 and bike thefts.
The reported property crime cases for 2016/2015, according to the LBPD, were as follows:
- Residential burglaries: 986/907
- Garage burglaries: 174/170
- Commercial burglaries: 367/398
- Auto burglaries: 975/1015
- Grand theft: 659/871
- Petty theft >$50: 367/456
- Petty theft <$50: 1,755/1,483
- Bike theft: 253/365
- Grand theft auto: 1,352/1,236
- Arson: 44/23
In addition, Long Beach has seen nearly 100 shootings so far this year, according to Post records. Multiple of those shootings resulting in injuries and fatalities. Almost 300 shootings were reported in Long Beach for all of 2015.
The most recent reported shooting happened Sunday, July 31, which left a man hospitalized, according to LBPD officials.
The increase seen the first half of 2016 seems to be a continuation of what the city saw last year. Previously responding to 2015's uptick in crime, LBPD Chief Robert Luna attributed 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.”
To see the complete citywide crime statistics, click here.