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Santa Monica Police Department Releases First Quarter Crime Report

Decrease in Calls for Service, Increase in Arrests, Shifts in Part I Offenses

The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) has released its comprehensive crime report for the first quarter of 2023, shedding light on the city’s crime trends and comparing them to the previous four years. The report, aimed at promoting transparency and accountability, reveals notable changes in criminal activity during this period. The report was authored by Erika Aklufi, SMPD Lieutenant and Myesha Morrison, Public Information Coordinator.

According to the report, the SMPD received a total of 22,825 calls for service in the first quarter of 2023, marking a decrease of 1,683 calls (7%) compared to the same period in 2022. On the other hand, officers made 662 arrests, indicating an increase of 259 arrests from the previous year.

The report’s analysis of Part I offenses, which encompass serious crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, grand theft auto, and arson, a rise of 149 crimes (14%) was observed compared to the same timeframe in 2022. However, specific categories within Part I offenses showed varied changes, with decreases in incidents of aggravated assault, grand theft, and arson, and increases in larceny and burglary.

Part II offenses, which include offenses like simple assault, DUIs, fraud, vandalism, and narcotics-related crimes, reported an overall increase of 119 crimes (19%).

The report stated,”SMPD’s Crime Analysts conducted a review and analysis of the reported information. It is important to note, this is preliminary data used to inform the public. Information is extracted by the occurrence date and may change after review and investigation. The information obtained by our analysts gives our department the opportunity to strategically plan how we efficiently and effectively protect our city.”

The report added, “Although the focus of this report is data, we remain sensitive to and respectful of the experiences of our residents, businesses, and visitors, none of which can be captured by statistics. Our response to issues of crime and disorder takes into account the experience of our residents, business owners, employees, and visitors—you are and will always be the top priority at SMPD.”

Among the notable changes highlighted in the report, the following trends were observed in Part I criminal behavior:

Aggravated Assault: The number of aggravated assault incidents decreased from 82 to 73 (-11%) when comparing the first quarter of 2023 to the same period in 2022. Of the reported incidents, 38 resulted in arrests, and 19% involved domestic violence.

Burglary: Both residential and non-residential burglaries saw an increase of 17 incidents (163 vs. 180). Garages/carports accounted for 40% of residential incidents, while apartment lobbies and storage areas constituted 31%.

Larceny: There was an overall increase in larceny incidents, rising from 580 to 735 compared to 2022. Noteworthy aspects of this category include 180 incidents of auto parts theft, with catalytic converters comprising 81% of the reports. Shoplifting accounted for 153 larceny incidents, with Nordstrom reporting the highest number of incidents, followed by TJ Maxx. The report noted that larceny had the largest increase of any type of Part 1 crime. 

Grand Theft Auto: The report recorded 110 vehicle thefts during the first quarter of 2023, a decrease of 23 incidents compared to the same period in 2022. Sixty-two percent of the stolen vehicles were recovered.

Robbery: There was an increase of 8 robbery incidents compared to the first quarter of 2022, 47 in 2023 vs. 39 incidents in 2022. Notably, the use of firearms in these crimes decreased by 2 incidents. Additionally, 55% of the incidents or 26 incidents resulted in arrests, and 11 robberies were categorized as Estes, involving force or threats of force to escape after shoplifting.

Rape: The number of reported rape incidents during the first quarter of 2023 increased by 5 incidents, reaching a total of 13, compared to the same period in 2022.

Arson: Incidents of arson declined slightly from 21 to 19 incidents. Approximately 68% of the reported incidents involved city-owned trash and recycling containers.

Part II Crimes – 1st Quarter of 2023

In 2019, there were 1062 reported Part II crimes during the first quarter. This dropped to a five-year low in 2021 with 566 incidents. In 2023, there were 756 reported Part II Crimes.

  • Simple Assault: Incidents of simple assault returned to 2019 levels with 174 reported incidents during the 1st quarter of 2023.
  • Incidents of Vandalism dropped to 175 after peaking in 2022 with 182 incidents.
  • Narcotics Possession: Incidents of narcotics possession, considered a pro-active arrest category increased from 27 to 58.

The report ended with a statement of purpose from the SMPD and information that would be helpful for residents who might need assistance. It said:

The Santa Monica Police Department is an organization that works within the principles of democracy and constitutional policing. We are dedicated to our work in conjunction with our civic and community partners to solve problems and make our city a safe and great place to live, work and visit. For more information on starting a Neighborhood Watch, requesting a security assessment, or to reach your Neighborhood Resource Officer, please contact the Community Affairs Unit at (310) 458-8474 (Community.Affairs@santamonica.gov).

And, as always, if You See Something, Say Something!  Dial/Text 9-1-1 for emergencies or (310) 458-8491 to reach our 24/7 Non-Emergency Dispatcher.

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