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Violent crime in Long Beach hits 40-year low, but property crime up

January 25, 2013 |  4:09 pm

Photo: Long Beach skyline reflected in the Los Angeles River as it flows to Long Beach Harbor. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times
Long Beach reported a 40-year low for violent crime in 2012, but a 10% increase in property crimes drove overall major crime up for the first time in at least five years.

Police Chief James McDonnell reported that city-wide violent crimes decreased by 5.3% in 2012 to the lowest level since 1972. The decline was driven by a drop in aggravated assaults and robberies. The number of rapes increased by three and murder, which hit a record low in 2011, increased by five to 30 in 2012.

But property crimes jumped significantly, with police citing a rise in home and garage burglaries, along with vehicle thefts. Overall major crimes increased 7% when compared with 2011.

"Last year, we as a department focused on violent crime, and our 40-year low is something for the city to really be proud of," the chief said.

When compared to 2011, residential burglaries were up 19%, while garage burglaries increased by 46.2%. Similarly, auto theft jumped by 19.1%.

In recent years, the city has trimmed its police department budget, but Mayor Bob Foster said he believes the state's plan to shift inmates to county supervision is affecting the numbers.

“We are clearly seeing the effects of realignment as it relates to property crime, as state policy has put thousands of additional criminals out on the street, resulting in increased property crime in communities throughout California,” Foster said in a statement.

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--Richard Winton

Photo: Long Beach skyline reflected in the Los Angeles River as it flows to Long Beach Harbor. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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