LBPD Crime Stats Show Drop in Murders to Record Low

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Arson investigationMurders in Long Beach continue to drop and are the lowest on record since the Long Beach Police Department began recording statistics. There were 25 murders in the year 2011, a 19.4% decrease from 2010, which had 31 murders. The 2011 murder statistics surpassed the lowest number on record, which was as recorded in 1969 as 27.

The number of rapes also dropped 16.4%, with 112 being reported in 2011 as opposed to 134 in 2010. Robberies and aggravated assault increased slightly resulting in an overall 4.4% increase in violent crime over the historical lows of 2010. 2011 crime rates are still well below the average for the past 10 years.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the work the Long Beach Police Department does every day to keep our City safe,” said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster. “Crime continues to be near historic lows in Long Beach and we are focused on delivering the high quality public service this community deserves despite the difficult budget times.”

Property crime in Long Beach increased by 10.5% in 2011. These crimes include burglaries, theft and arson. Most notably, 59 more cases of arson were reported in 2011, as compared to 2010.

“While the measure of our success is oftentimes based on numbers, the community gauges our effectiveness on how soon we get to them when they really need us,” stated Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell. “In 2011, our average response time for “Priority 1” emergency calls was 4.2 minutes. While we continuously strive to drive down our numbers, our priority has always been to protect life and property. Doing more with less has been a challenge, but we continue to meet our main objective.”

Over the past several years, LBPD has implemented several new and innovative technologies to improve the exchange of crime-related information with members of the community. Each technology has made a positive contribution to a more collaborative crime-fighting strategy.

Two new programs centered on the LBPD’s partnership with the community were launched in 2011, iWatch, and the Community Camera Partnership Program. True to its motto, “See Something Say Something,” iWatch is a public awareness campaign to encourage residents to report crime and suspicious activity. The Community Camera Partnership Program is a community policing partnership that enables the police to access privately owned cameras citywide to view video as well as obtain still images of criminal activity captured by the cameras.

Existing departmental programs such as Nixle, Safe Reunion/Long Beach, and Tipsoft, all launched in 2010, continued to prove successful in 2011. The LBPD’s following of Nixle subscribers continues to increase, allowing more residents and visitors of our City to receive instant alerts via text, e-mail and/or web. The Safe Reunion/Long Beach program, which provides free emergency locator bracelets to those with cognitive disorders, resulted in four happy reunions of participants with their grateful loved ones in 2011. Tipsoft, a program that allows users to anonymously provide information to the LBPD electronically, relayed 270 tips to the Department on various crimes including narcotics activity and a murder.

Our partnerships with other law-enforcement agencies including the DEA, ATF, FBI, US Marshal’s Office, State Parole, Los Angeles County Probation, CBP, CHP, LASD and our neighboring agencies, as well as departments within the City of Long Beach, allow us to conduct various enforcement operations targeting criminal activity that affect the quality of life of our residents. Gang activity, violent crime, and the sale of narcotics have all been greatly impacted due to our teamwork on task forces and with partner agencies.

Arsons have also been impacted a result of our collaborative efforts, due to the hard work of the Long Beach Fire Department Arson Investigation Unit which made two significant arrests in 2011. The Arson Investigation Unit, a five-member team comprised of investigators from Long Beach Police and Fire Departments and ATF, worked to identify two prolific serial arsonists working separately that presented a serious threat to public safety. The Unit worked closely with police officers working patrol who detained both suspects. One suspect was arrested April 11, 2011, just two days after a three-day spree. He was charged with 18 arsons plus additional charges including attempted murder, arson to an inhabited structure, and residential burglary. The second suspect was arrested on December 3, 2011, just one day after he committed at least 17 fires in ninety minutes. He has been charged with 17 felony counts of arson. Both suspects are awaiting trial at this time.

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