• Matt Esnayra

LBPD 2020 Crime Stats: Rise in murder, aggravated assault, and property crime

The Long Beach Police Department has released crime statistics for 2020, and there are some interesting trends.

What you need to know:

2020 will be defined by a global pandemic, civil unrest, and the most divisive presidential election in a generation. The LBPD largely attributes events of the past year, especially the pandemic for playing a "significant role as crime began to shift in late spring."

These were the biggest takeaways:

1. Overall, violent crime dropped by 1.4% in 2020. However, the City saw an increase in crime in crucial areas like murder, aggravated assault, and property crime.

  • According to recently released crime figures, the City saw a 5.9% increase in murder and 18.6% in aggravated assault.

  • One of the most surprising findings was that 31% of murders are due to "disputes that escalated into violence," and the rise in aggravated assaults is connected to the increase in gun violence.

  • Property crimes were up by 12.1%, with auto burglaries taking the lion's share at 28.9%, followed by a 26.2% jump in commercial burglaries, a 22.6% in garage burglaries, and a 21.4% increase in grand theft auto.

2. The LBPD says they used "proactive resources' during the pandemic to divert personnel in reaction to coronavirus lockdowns, civil unrest, and everyday crime.

  • Police say they increased security for panic buying and taught residents voluntary compliance with Health Orders.

  • The department diverted resources for "Protecting 1st Amendment Activity," a.k.a monitoring communities and over 130 events in the City since May 31st, including planning for pre-election and post-election activity.

  • A "Looting Task Force" was created in response to the May 31st unrest that resulted in 60 arrests and 33 outstanding arrest warrants. Over 125 cases have been submitted to the District Attorney or City Prosecutor for filing consideration, plus the impoundment of 35 vehicles and 38 search warrants served.

  • The department says they seized over 850 firearms and arrested 295 prohibited possessors last year—a 40% increase compared to 2019 and a 43% increase above the five-year average. Firearm-related arrests have also increased by 36% since 2019

3. The new Office of Constitutional Policing and the adoption of further training and new department guidelines.

  • The Office of Constitutional Policing, which was created in July, is intended to arrange "with best practices in policing, legal mandates, and community expectations," and "guide the expansion of data analytics for accountability and transparency."

  • New policies like the Early Intervention Program, policy, training, and implementation.

  • The police established the Bias-Free Policing Policy, a change in practice by providing Compelled Statements to the Citizen Police Complaint Commission, and a revision of the Use of Force Policy and Vehicle Pursuit Policy.

  • The Department's Homeless Outreach and Mental Evaluation made over 8,110 contacts to persons experiencing homelessness, resulting in temporary housing for 268 and permanent housing for 43. In addition, 1,167 interventions were conducted, and the team participated in over 978 clean-up operations throughout the City.

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