Homicides Up 25% in Southeast Area : 234 Slain in '84; Other Violent Crimes Stable While Property Assaults Drop

Times Staff Writer

There were 234 homicides in the Southeast area in 1984, an increase of 25% over 1983 figures. But the increase does not reflect an overall jump in violent crime, according to statistics gathered from 15 area police and sheriff's stations.

While the number of murders in the area went up 47 from the 187 reported in 1983, the number of violent crimes was almost stable. Assaults decreased nearly 8% to 8,212 incidents during the year, and rape dropped more than 6% to 703 incidents. Robberies, however, rose 7.2% to 6,249 incidents.

In line with a nationwide decrease that began more than three years ago, overall crime (which includes both crimes against people and crimes against property) fell 4.5% in the Southeast area.

Capt. William Hinkle, spokesman for the Sheriff's Department, said it is difficult to explain "why homicide is on the rise. We have not noticed a significant increase in gang-related murders, but all types of murder have increased."

Hinkle called homicide a crime that is difficult to predict, and as a result "extremely difficult to prevent." During the past few years there has been an increase in murder between strangers, he said, adding that previously most homicides occurred between acquaintances or family members.

He pointed out that with most other crimes police can implement preventive-action programs that bring results.

In Lynwood, for example, the number of rapes fell sharply, from 101 in 1983 to 51 in 1984, a fact that Lt. Frank Vaduro of the Lynwood sheriff's station attributes to the Block Watch Clubs his department has set up.

"During the last year we have gone into the neighborhoods and held meetings where we show people films and hand out literature about how to avoid being raped and what to do if you are raped," Vaduro said.

Hinkle noted that the seven sheriff's stations in the Southeast area have implemented "directed patrol" programs to target areas of their cities that have the highest reported crime rate. Success has been mixed.

Though robbery (categorized as a violent crime) increased 7.2% in the Southeast area, crimes against property were down, with auto theft falling 8.2% and both burglary and theft dropping about 4.5%.

Arson, which was up almost 30% during the first six months of 1984 compared to the same period in 1983, showed almost no change at year's end, with 719 arsons in 1984 and 720 in 1985.

The Firestone sheriff's station showed a 32.1% rise in arson during the year, but Sgt. Phillip Yow insisted that the increase does not indicate a trend in the area.

"There's no explanation for rises in arson," Yow said, adding that arson, like homicide, is "a crime of passion. In one recent incident I can think of, some people dealing in narcotics set fire to a guy's business as a way of revenge."

In line with the decrease in overall crime in the Southeast area, the Pico Rivera sheriff's station reported the greatest drop in crime, down 12.7% from 1983. The most significant decreases were in theft, which fell 20%, and assault, which dropped more than 30%. However, homicides increased, from 4 in 1983 to 10 in 1984.

James Valdez, operations sergeant for the Pico Rivera station, attributed the decrease in crime to his station's Gang Suppression Team, which has kept a close watch on gangs in the area to reduce related crime.

"Gang violence seems to be down in all areas around here," Valdez said. "Obviously, as you can see from our stats, the team is doing quite an excellent job."

Sgt. William Winn of the Lynwood sheriff's station said that budget cuts had forced his station to become "more innovative in our patrolling techniques," in part leading to an 8.2% decrease in crime.

"You just have to tighten your belt and get the job done," he said.

Total crimes rose in Bell, Compton, Cudahy and Downey, with Bell and Cudahy showing the greatest increases.

Crime in Cudahy jumped 31.6%, with a 16% rise in burglary. In Bell, overall crime rose 10.4%.

Chief Frank Fording of the Bell-Cudahy Police Department said he did not know why overall crime in the two cities had increased. He maintained that gang-related crime in his area has actually gone down.

He added that, in Cudahy, the sharp increase in reported thefts results in part from a local retailer increasing its private security and making numerous arrests.

1983-84 Southeast-Area Crime Statistics

BELL (26,000)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 5 3 -40.0 Rape 6 7 +16.7 Robbery 102 133 +30.4 Assault 59 64 +8.5 Burglary 467 524 +12.2 Theft 339 358 +5.6 Auto Theft 159 162 +1.9 Arson 4 9 +125.0 Total 1,141 1,260 +10.4

BELL GARDENS (35,000)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 5 7 +40.0 Rape 13 18 +38.5 Robbery 93 129 +38.7 Assault 308 344 +ll.7 Burglary 918 634 -30.9 Theft 693 703 +1.4 Auto Theft 178 168 -5.6 Arson N/A N/A N/A Total 2,208 2,003 -9.3

COMPTON (80,000)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 42 44 +4.8 Rape 135 171 +26.7 Robbery 1,125 1,429 +27.0 Assault 999 1,099 +10.0 Burglary 2,340 2,084 -10.9 Theft 603 558 -7.5 Auto Theft 1,355 1,327 -2.1 Arson 95 33 -65.3 Total 6,694 6,745 +0.8

CUDAHY (19,000)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 4 3 -25.0 Rape 6 9 +50.0 Robbery 50 52 +4.0 Assault 42 31 -26.2 Burglary 365 425 +16.4 Theft 194 419 +116.0 Auto Theft 122 98 -19.7 Arson 7 3 -57.1 Total 790 1,040 +31.6

DOWNEY (82,000)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 3 3 0 Rape 15 23 +53.3 Robbery 244 234 -4.1 Assault 119 99 -16.8 Burglary 1,413 1,492 +5.6 Theft 2,360 2,569 +8.9 Auto Theft 690 548 -20.6 Arson N/A N/A N/A Total 4,844 4,968 +2.6

EAST L.A. (122,000)* (includes City of Commerce)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 25 38 +52.0 Rape 51 60 +17.6 Robbery 545 636 +16.7 Assault 983 946 -3.8 Burglary 2,262 1,938 -14.3 Theft 3,049 3,119 +2.3 Auto Theft 1,266 1,171 -7.5 Arson 86 74 -14.0 Total 8,267 7,982 -3.4

FIRESTONE (60,000)* (covers unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, including Walnut Park and the Firestone District)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 22 22 0 Rape 62 50 -19.4 Robbery 460 473 +2.8 Assault 733 742 +1.2 Burglary 1,054 929 -11.9 Theft 776 858 +10.6 Auto Theft 464 474 +2.2 Arson 53 70 +32.1 Total 3,624 3,618 -0.2

HUNTINGTON PARK (40,000)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. NA NA NA NA

INDUSTRY (250,000)* (includes cities of La Puente, La Habra Heights, Walnut)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 16 19 +18.8 Rape 76 73 -3.9 Robbery 437 446 +2.1 Assault 1,022 980 -4.1 Burglary 3,958 3,934 -0.6 Theft 5,179 4,811 -7.1 Auto Theft 1,297 1,348 +3.9 Arson 103 124 +20.4 Total 12,088 11,735 -2.9

LAKEWOOD (250,000)* (includes cities of Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens, Paramount)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 18 25 +38.9 Rape 88 73 -17.0 Robbery 785 716 -8.8 Assault 1,120 899 -19.7 Burglary 3,707 3,574 -3.6 Theft 6,681 6,002 -10.2 Auto Theft 2,169 1,787 -17.6 Arson 97 96 -1.0 Total 14,665 13,172 -10.2

LYNWOOD (83,000)* (covers unincorporated areas of L.A. County,including East Compton and Willowbrook)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 28 27 -3.6 Rape 101 51 -49.5 Robbery 801 837 +4.5 Assault 1,190 934 -21.5 Burglary 1,739 1,642 -5.6 Theft 1,728 1,562 -9.6 Auto Theft 768 756 -1.6 Arson 121 134 +10.7 Total 6,476 5,943 -8.2

MAYWOOD (26,000)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 1 3 +200.0 Rape 2 3 +50.0 Robbery 47 39 -17.0 Assault 49 65 +32.7 Burglary 246 261 +6.1 Theft 211 198 -6.2 Auto Theft 119 97 -18.5 Arson 3 11 +266.7 Total 678 677 -0.1

MONTEBELLO (56,000)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 1 3 +200.0 Rape 23 25 +8.7 Robbery 160 190 +18.8 Assault 135 108 -20.0 Burglary 1,000 972 -2.8 Theft 892 894 +0.2 Auto Theft 421 421 0 Arson 23 17 -26.1 Total 2,655 2,630 -0.9

NORWALK (190,000)* (includes cities of La Mirada, Santa Fe Springs)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 7 16 +128.6 Rape 86 68 -20.9 Robbery 406 360 -11.3 Assault 865 781 -9.7 Burglary 2,558 2,543 -0.6 Theft 3,930 3,521 -10.4 Auto Theft 1,158 1,010 -12.8 Arson 64 100 +56.3 Total 9,074 8,399 -7.4

PICO RIVERA (57,000)*

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 4 10 +150.0 Rape 31 20 -35.5 Robbery 196 198 +1.0 Assault 514 359 -30.2 Burglary 1,079 1,102 +2.1 Theft 1,400 1,120 -20.0 Auto Theft 385 345 -10.4 Arson 47 37 -21.3 Total 3,656 3,191 -12.7

SOUTH GATE (68,000)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 5 8 +60.0 Rape 26 37 +42.3 Robbery 282 277 -1.8 Assault 429 424 -1.2 Burglary 1,092 1,152 +5.5 Theft 1,494 1,453 -2.7 Auto Theft 577 566 -1.9 Arson N/A N/A N/A Total 3,905 3,917 +0.3

WHITTIER (80,000)

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 1 3 +200.0 Rape 28 15 -46.4 Robbery 96 100 +4.2 Assault 341 337 -1.2 Burglary 936 826 -11.8 Theft 1,821 1,764 -3.1 Auto Theft 377 282 -25.2 Arson 17 11 -35.3 Total 3,617 3,338 -7.7

OVERALL TOTALS

Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 187 234 +25.1 Rape 749 703 -6.1 Robbery 5,829 6,249 +7.2 Assault 8,909 8,212 -7.8 Burglary 25,134 24,032 -4.4 Theft 31,350 29,909 -4.6 Auto Theft 11,505 10,560 -8.2 Arson 720 719 -0.1 Total 84,382 80,618 -4.5

NA=statistics not available. *= Sheriff's Department coverage.

For the Record Los Angeles Times Sunday February 3, 1985 Home Edition Long Beach Part 9 Page 2 Column 4 Zones Desk 2 inches; 53 words Type of Material: Correction In the Jan. 27 Southeast/Long Beach sections, 1983 and 1984 crime statistics for the city of South Gate were transposed. The correct figures follow. SOUTH GATE (68,000) Crime 1983 1984 %Diff. Homicide 8 5 -37.5 Rape 37 26 -29.7 Robbery 277 282 +1.8 Assault 424 429 +1.2 Burglary 1,152 1,092 -5.2 Theft 1,453 1,494 +2.8 Auto Theft 566 577 +1.9 Arson N/A N/A N/A Total 3,917 3,905 -0.3 GRAPHIC-TABLE: Crime statistics for South Gate
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