In 2015, the City of Long Beach experienced a rise in both violent and property crime, driven mainly by increases in aggravated assaults and auto thefts. The City also saw decreases in some types of crimes like residential and commercial burglaries. However, the crime rate remains relatively low when compared to the overall historical crime statistics. The 2015 crime rate is similar to the 2011 crime rate, when Long Beach had historic lows.
Total Part 1 crime increased 15.9% from 2014; violent crime increased 18.8%; and property crime increased 15.4%. The number of aggravated assaults increased 18.9%; and 17 of the 36 murders in 2015 were gang-related. Reductions were seen in four property crime categories: residential burglary decreased 11%; garage burglary decreased 7.2%; commercial burglary decreased 12.1%; and arson decreased 8.2%.
“Police chiefs across the state are concerned about these crime increases. We are committed to serving our community, reducing crime, continuing to build public safety partnerships, and striving to achieve a safe city for all,” said Chief Robert Luna. “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. 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.”
Additional crime statistics are available on the Police Department’s website.
The City has deployed multiple strategies to address the rising crime trend and is committed to finding new, innovative ways to deploy resources, including the following.
Public Safety Continuum
As part of the Public Safety Continuum, all City Departments work as a team to promote public safety. Through Safe Long Beach , the City’s Violence Prevention Plan, the City and community are working together to create and sustain conditions that promote long-term safety, while reducing violent crime in certain neighborhoods. More than $2,000,000 in grant funding through Safe Long Beach , supports efforts for preventing youth violence, improving school attendance, and helping to break the cycle of violence.
The City implemented several new initiatives in 2015, including late-night park activation; a rotating mini-resource center; and focused Police resource deployment in impacted neighborhoods.
Education and Outreach
The City of Long Beach has increased education and community outreach efforts to engage residents in public safety efforts. The Police Department supports Community Watch groups and regularly meets with neighborhood and business associations to discuss ways to protect themselves and their property, and continues to foster accountability and community trust by strengthening existing relationships and identifying new opportunities for collaboration.
Using mobile technology and social media outlets increases connectivity with the community, and conveys crime prevention information to an increasingly large audience.
Deployment of Resources
Through the use of technology, the City has become more data driven and focused in crime fighting and public safety efforts. Analyzing crime patterns and trends helps direct resources to the areas where the most impact will be made to prevent and deter crime.
Additionally, special one-time funding is helping to strategically deploy police officers to impact gang activity and quality of life issues.
The City of Long Beach continues to promote the “See Something, Say Something” philosophy, encouraging community members to immediately report suspicious activity, and also emphasizes the importance of securing property and removing valuables from plain sight to reduce crimes of opportunity.
Efforts to look for new technology, innovative strategies, and ideas to combat crime will continue in 2016.