Crime Drops in Santa Monica, Reflecting General Trend
By Lookout Staff
July 9 -- Reports of major crime in Santa Monica dropped 9 percent between 2003 and 2004, although violent crime remained at a steady level, according to statistics compiled by the California Department of Justice.
The latest dip brings reports of major crime -- defined by the FBI as homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny and arson -- to the lowest level in Santa Monica since 1957, police said.
The drop reflects national and statewide trends that have also seen crime plummet to record low levels over the last dozen years, a decline that has remained steady for more than a decade, according to state and national statistics.
While overall crime reports in Santa Monica decreased from a total of 4,501 in 2003 to 4,108 last year, the number of reports of personal crimes -- homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- rose by two incidents to 557, according to the crime statistics.
If personal crime rose slightly, reports of property crimes -- burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny and arson -- dropped by 10 percent between 2003 and 2004, from 3,946 to 3,551, according to the statistics.
Police officials attribute the decrease in reports of serious crime to “increased community involvement in police planning, particularly through Neighborhood Centered Policing,” according to a statement release by the police department Thursday.
Serious crime has been on the decline since 1993, when the city “experienced its highest crime rate ever,” with a combined total of 10,891 serious crimes, compared to the 4,095 reported incidents last year, a 62 percent drop, police said.
During that same period, crimes against persons dropped 61 percent, with homicides down from a record high 17 in 1980 to two last year and an average of about three over the past five years, police said.
Santa Monica’s dropping crime rate reflects a statewide trend that saw reports of serious crime dip 5.2 percent between 2003 and 2004, according to State Department of Justice crime statistics. (see related report)
Statewide, crimes against persons dropped for the second straight year, with homicides declining by three percent, forcible rape by 5.1 percent, robbery by 4.9 percent and aggravated assault by 5.5 percent, according to the latest statistics.
While reports of personal crime dipped, property crimes posted a 0.9 percent increase statewide, according to the statistics.
Like Santa Monica, crime across the state has plummeted since the early 1990s. Violent crime has dropped 51.1 percent since record high crime figures were posted in 1992, while the property crime rate has dropped 41.6 percent since its peak rate in 1989.
The local and statewide trend reflects a general national trend that saw crimes against persons reach their lowest levels ever in 2003, the latest figures currently available. (see related site)
The dramatic drop in crime across the country has been attributed to
everything from community based policing to a drop in unwanted children
due to legalized abortion. (see
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