Jul 30, 2014

West Hollywood Crime Rate Rises; Violent Crime Remains Low

Crime in L.A. County edges upward after a major decline since 2007, while homicides reach a historic low.

West Hollywood Crime Rate Rises; Violent Crime Remains Low

The crime rate in West Hollywood increased 10.9 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced Wednesday.

There were 2,108 incidents of violent and property crime reported in 2012 vs. 1,901 in 2011. In 2007, 2,064 occurred in the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's West Hollywood Station, which includes a substation located at Universal CityWalk.

"In the first six months (of 2012) crime was up over 38 percent and now it's down to 10.9," said Lt. David Smith of the West Hollywood Station. "The city's been gracious enough to supplement our regular patrol with some overtime, which gives us more deputies on the streets during the peak hours of crime."

Smith attributed the crime increase to early-released prisoners and the city's homeless population, who account for a significant portion of property crimes. He also cited valuables left in cars or other easily accessible places as a major contributor to Weho's 14 percent increase in property crime in 2012 compared with 2011 and 2007.

"Crimes of opportunity result from people being careless," Smith said. "There's a lot of nice things here in West Hollywood."

Weho's dense population, which swells to more than 100,000 when the city's weekend nightlife peaks, was another factor contributing to the elevated crime rate, according to Smith.

In 2012, there were 600 crime victims for every 10,000 people in the city.

The department reports totals for what it calls "Part I crimes," which include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft, grand theft auto and arson.

Here's how Weho compared with the county average for Part I crimes:

2012 and 2007

  • Weho Station: 10.7% increase
  • Entire Sheriff's Department: 16.04% decrease

2012 and 2011

  • Weho Station: 10.9% increase
  • Entire Sheriff's Department: 4.16% increase

Countywide, homicides have dropped considerably, registering a "five-year continuous decrease, resulting in a 37.5 percent decrease in homicides in 2012 compared to five years ago, and the lowest number of homicides in sheriff's patrol areas since 1970," according to the department.

There were no murders in West Hollywood in 2012 and 2011, and one was reported in 2007.

Countywide totals for all violent crimes—criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault—indicated a 3.5 percent increase in 2012 compared with 2011. "Serious property crimes" increased by 4.3 percent  in 2012 compared with the previous year.

Over a five-year period, however, there were 24 percent fewer violent crimes in 2012. "Serious property crimes" decreased by 14 percent.

Here's how Weho compared with the county violent crime average:

2012 and 2007

  • Weho: 2% decrease
  • County: 24% decrease

2012 and 2011

  • Weho Station: 3% decrease
  • Entire Sheriff's Department: 3.5% increase

Burglary and arson in West Hollywood posted significant increases in  the five-year period.

In 2012 there were 337 burglaries, which include thefts from vehicles, and 258 in 2007 representing a 44 percent rise. There were 285 in 2011 for a 20 percent increase.

Arson tallied nine incidents in 2012 vs. six in 2007, a 62 percent increase. There were 12 incidents in 2011.

Significantly fewer stolen cars were reported in 2012 compared with five years ago: 122 in 2012 and 216 in 2007, a 39 percent drop.

Smith said the decrease in grand theft auto incidents was largely due to improved vehicle security measures and the department's efforts to shut down auto theft rings.

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