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Santa Monica Crime Continues Dropping, Mirroring Los Angeles City Trend
By Jorge Casuso
May 22, 2019 -- Serious crime in Santa Monica dropped by 3.2 percent during the first quarter of this year, and it has continued dropping in April and May, according to data provided by the Santa Monica Police Department.
The drop reflects an overall trend that saw crime in the neighboring City of Los Angeles drop by 8 percent during the first quarter of 2019, with eight of the ten Westside neighborhoods registering a decrease, according to an analysis of crime data by CrosstownLA..
In Santa Monica there were 1,192 crime incidents reported in the first quarter of 2019, 40 fewer than the 1,232 incidents reported during the same period last year, according to the data requested by the Lookout.
The trend continued in April and May, with 640 crimes reported between April 1 and May 20, down from 759 for the same period last year, or an 8 percent decrease.
If the trend persists throughout the year, crime in Santa Monica could reach its lowest level since 2013.
The drop comes after Santa Monica Police Chief Cynthia Renaud, who was hired in March 2018, instituted several measures to fight crime, which rose by 8.8 percent in 2018 after a 12.7 percent hike in 2017 ("Santa Monica Taps Highly Touted Folsom Police Chief for Top Post," March 13, 2018).
In a video address in January, Renaud said the department was "working hard" to hire 20 officers to get up to full budgeted staff and boosting patrols in neighborhoods and business districts ("Crime Rose 8.8 Percent in Santa Monica Last Year, Police Chief Says in Video Address," January 30, 2019).
The department also has been deploying the mounted unit to parks and highly visited open spaces more frequently and recreated the "crime impact team" that tracks crime trends to make pro-active deployments, she said.
In addition, the homeless liaison program team is being deployed seven days a week, parking areas are being secured to lessen the number of vehicle robberies and regulatory solutions, such as earlier closing hours for the McDonald's in the Downtown, are being sought.
During the first quarter of this year, aggravated assaults saw the biggest decrease, from 101 incidents reported in 2018 to 66 this year.
Burglary also dropped from 172 reported incidents last year to 151 in the first quarter this year, while the number of reported rapes also dropped from 15 last year to 12.
One murder was reported in the first quarter of both years.
Other categories of serious crimes saw an increase.
Robberies saw a slight increase from 55 to 57 in he first quarter of this year, theft rose from 834 to 848, and grand theft auto increased slightly from 54 to 57.
But the numbers have dropped since April 1, with every category but grand theft auto dropping as of May 20, and reaching levels lower than they did during a similar period in 2018.
The most dramatic drop was in theft, which fell from 504 to 443 incidents between April 1 and May 20, a 9 percent drop.
Santa Monica's decrease in crime this year mirrors a general trend in Los Angeles, which saw crime drop by 8 percent to 50,274 crimes reported in the first quarter of this year, according to a report in CrosstownLA.
An analysis by the non-profit news organization, which covers LA neighborhoods, found wide fluctuations in the crime rates of areas near Santa Monica.
The biggest crime increases were in Playa del Rey, which saw a 67 percent jump in serious crime during the first quarter this year.
Venice was the only other Westside neighborhood that saw an increase in crime, which rose 17 percent.
The other eight LA neighborhoods on the Westside saw serious crime decrease, with the biggest drop -- 33 percent -- taking place in West LA.
Crime was down in Rancho Park by 22 percent, Mar Vista by 19 percent, Pacific Palisades by 14 percent, Playa Vista by 12 percent, Brentwood by 10 percent, Westwood by 3 percent and Palms by 1 percent.
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