Shootings rose to start 2022, but gun violence has eased compared to height of surge 

Thirty-four shooting incidents were reported to Long Beach police in January, an increase from the 25 reported in December, according to newly released data, but those numbers mark a significant decline in gun violence compared to a year ago when the city notched 110 shootings spread across those two months.

December 2020 and January 2021 were the worst months for gun violence in at least the past five years; a year since then, the number of shootings still remains above average for that time period when Long Beach was experiencing historically low crime rates.

Since the major spike in shootings last winter, the LBPD has put an emphasis on gun violence prevention programs.

LBPD Chief of Police Wally Hebeish, who is in his second month on the job, said in the past that he hopes to work with the Health Department to develop new ways to reduce gun violence in the city. Last month, the LBPD said gun arrests were up 36% in 2021 due, in part, to teams of officers tasked with preventing shootings.

The Long Beach Post has been tracking shooting data through public records requests submitted to the Long Beach Police Department at the end of each month. The numbers for January show that of the 34 shooting incidents reported to police last month, there were 15 in which nobody was wounded. The majority of the shootings occurred in Downtown, Central, West and North Long Beach.

During a community meeting Wednesday evening for 3rd District residents, who live in one of the areas least affected by recent shootings, Hebeish addressed concerns about gang-related crimes.

“The number of gang shootings has actually gone down,” Hebeish said. “The problem is the number of hit shootings involving gang members has gone up.”

Police have also begun to focus more on other crimes, such as catalytic converter thefts, which Hebeish said is a prevalent issue that seems to be connected to gangs in the city.

“Just like policing evolves, I guess gang membership evolves a little bit too,” Hebeish said.

The only shooting in the 3rd District last month was related to an attempted catalytic converter theft in Belmont Shore.

Man shot while confronting catalytic converter thieves, Long Beach police say

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Fernando Haro is the Long Beach Post's breaking news and public safety reporter.
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