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Residential Burglaries, Aggravated Assaults Rise in Santa Monica's North of Montana Area
By Jorge Casuso
June 7, 2017 -- While the number of serious crimes reported North of Montana has remained relatively stable since 2012, there has been an increase in the rate of residential burglaries and aggravated assaults this year, according to statistics provided to The Lookout by the Santa Monica Police Department.
In the city's most exclusive area -- which stretches north of Montana Avenue from Ocean Avenue to the city's eastern border -- there have been 25 residential burglaries reported in the first four months of this year, compared to 55 for all of last year.
The area also witnessed an increase in the number of aggravated assaults reported, with 6 through April, compared to 4 in all of last year and 4 in 2015. (There were 3 aggravated assaults in 2012, 4 in 2013 and 2 in 2014).
This year's numbers don't include the two highly publicized residential burglaries that took place in the area on May 15 and May 26. In both cases the same two suspects brutally assaulted the victims inside their homes ("Suspects Charged in Two Brutal Home Invasion Robberies in Santa Monica," May 31, 2017).
The statistics for May will be included at a presentation Thursday night to the North of Montana Neighborhood Association (NOMA), said Lt. Saul Rodriguez, the Police Department spokesman. (The meeting will take place at Franklin School from 7 to 9 p.m.)
The annual statistics starting with 2012 requested by The Lookout show that reported burglaries North of Montana had been steadily dropping in the area.
After reaching a high of 66 in 2014, they dropped to 63 in 2015 and 55 last year. There were 43 burglaries reported in 2012 and 55 in 2013.
Reported grand theft auto (GTA) crimes have seen a sharp increase North of Montana over the past five years, peaking with 30 last year (compared to 11 in 2012, 9 in both 2013 and 2014 and 23 in 2015.
In the first four months of this year, there have been 12 reported grand theft auto crimes, with the number steadily decreasing over the first four months -- from 6 in January, to 4 in February, 2 in March and none in April.
One crime that has seen a marked drop over the past five years is thefts from motor vehicles (BTFMV).
There have been 17 such cases North of Montana so far this year, compared to 69 last year. The annual high was 110 in 2012, followed by 81 in 2013.
The number of reported robberies peaked at 6 last year, from a low of 1 in 2014. One robbery was reported during the first four months of this year, in April.
The number of reported larcenies has remained relatively stable, with the number of larcenies of auto parts reported dropping from 25 last year to 1 during the first four months this year.
Police believe the percipitous drop could be attributed to fewer thieves targeting catalytic converters, which contain traces of precious metals, Lt. Rodriguez said.
He noted that the Police Department mounted an awareness campaign amid a nationwide increase in such thefts in 2015 ("Santa Monica Police Warn of Smog Device Thefts," March 2, 1015).
Except for a marked decrease in 2014, the number of serious crimes North of Montana have remained relatively stable -- with 250 in 2012, 242 in 2013, 205 in 2014, 234 in 2015 and 244 in 2016.
There have been 85 serious crimes -- which include violent crimes and property crimes -- so far this year.
Since January 1, 2012, there have been no homicides and four rapes reported North of Montana.
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