Police Officials Says Yearly Crime Rates Are Actually Down

Despite complaints from residents about high-visibility crimes making rounds on social media, police officials say yearly crime rates are actually down when compare to last year and the average over the past five years. At a City Council Public Safety Committee meeting on Wednesday, Commander Robert Smith told council members that the city has seen a 12.2% decrease in violent crime and a 5.5% decrease in property crime through July this year compare to 2018.

Crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term “crime” does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition When compare to the five-year average; violent crime is down 12.9% and property crime is down by 14.2%, Smith said. When it comes to the most serious crime, there have been 19 criminal homicides citywide so far this year compared to 20 for the same timespan in 2018, police said. However, the city is up slightly by one killing compare to the average of the last five years, smith said.

Gang relate murders

Councilwoman Suzie Price ask if police knew if there was any reason to believe; so that there was an uptick of gang activity this year. Smith said he wasn’t aware of any, but LBPD’s analysts are “always looking” for trends and issues with gangs. There have been seven gang relate slayings in 2019 versus five in 2018, according to Smith. “If you look back over the years like they have; so that is fairly, that’s an average,” Smith said. “Typically our gang relate murders are less than half of our overall numbers.”

A rash of shootings in the spring including one weekend in May with eight shootings startled residents; also stok fears of rising gang violence. “When they share statistics regarding public safety with our community; also they talk about number of murders; in some communities; so that may cause a fear that there’s general violence out there,” Price said.

Decreasing violent crime

“But when we look into the cases, a lot of time we’re dealing with parties that are known to each other; have some sort of circumstance that has brought them together as oppose to a victim who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” One outlier in decreasing violent crime report across the city are rape statistics, according to LBPD data.

In July’s crime statistics, the number sexual assault were up compare to the previous year. Reports increase by 19%, or 23 incidents, from the first half of 2018 to the first half of 2019, according to LBPD data. Victims advocates have said the increase may be attributable to the #MeToo movement encouraging more victims to speak up.