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Theft Top Reported Crime in Santa Monica During First Half of Year


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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

July 3, 2017 -- As is the case in most years, various forms of theft accounted for the most reported type of crime in the first half of 2017, according to the Santa Monica Open Data Portal.

A total of 1,618 thefts were reported from January 1 to June 30, up from 1,476 during the same stretch in 2016. The most frequent type of theft reported was items stolen from vehicles with 675, up from 492 last year.

Other types of theft reported in the first halves of this year and 2016 included:

* stolen bicycles (209 this year and 206 in 2016)

* “other” (171 this year and 191 in 2016)

* items stolen from buildings (171 this year and 190 in 2016)

* grand theft auto (140 this year and 144 in 2016)

* shoplifting (138 this year and 149 in 2016)

* stolen vehicle parts (71 this year and 67 in 2016)

* pick pocketing (31 this year and 29 in 2016)

* purse snatching (five this year and four in 2016)

* theft from coin machines (five this year and four in 2016)

The statistics reported in the Open Data Portal are based on the Santa Monica Police Department’s crime and incident reports. They do not reflect whether the reported crimes led to convictions or even further investigation.

There has been one reported homicide in 2017.

Juan Sebastian Castillo, an 18-year-old who graduated from Santa Monica High School last year, was found unconscious near UCLA Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the head in February (“Police Investigate Shooting Death of Santa Monica Teenager," February 27, 2017).

Nearly two months later, Santa Monica police arrested Castillo’s alleged killer, 42-year-old Sherwin Mendoza Espinosa, after what they called “extensive and thorough investigative efforts” (“Man Charged in Connection with Santa Monica Teen’s Murder,” May 22, 2017).

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office charged Espinosa with murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

There were two reported homicides in 2016, both taking place in the first half of the year.

Second on the most-reported crimes list for the first halves of this and last year was assault with 435 reported incidents, down from 479 in 2016.

Most of the reported assaults in both years were classified as “simple,” with 285 reported in the first half of this year and 374 reported the first half of 2016.

The remaining types of assault were classified as “aggravated” (150 this year and 105 in 2016).

Public intoxication was the third-most reported crime in the first halves of both years, with 263 this year, a drop from 332 in 2016.

Other top reported crimes in the first halves of both years included the following:

* burglary (287 this year and 242 in 2016)

* vandalism (276 this year and 245 in 2016)

* fraud (250 this year and 298 in 2016)

* contempt of court (136 this year and 144 in 2016)

* drug possession (91 this year and 148 in 2016)

* DUI (82 this year and 122 in 2016)

* robbery (72 this year and 84 in 2016)

Among the reported drug possession crimes, “synthetic” was the most common both this year and last year with 66 in 2017 and 101 in 2016. Reported illegal drug sales is down from 30 in 2016 to 27 this year.

The frequency of other noteworthy reported crimes from the first halves of both years included arson (15 this year and 11 in 2016), blackmail (five this year and three in 2016) and prostitution (none this year and one in 2016).


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