The number of serious crimes has dropped in each of the last three years, with nearly 300 fewer incidents reported last year compared to 1990, according to a city report.
"We're hopefully on a trend that we can hang on to," said Carole Rowe, the city's public safety manager. "We're going to work real hard at making it continue."
According to the report, 1,685 Part I crimes--including burglary, grand theft, robbery, rape and homicide--were reported in 1992 in the city, which has slightly more than 12,000 residents. There were 1,930 such crimes reported in 1991 and 1,984 in 1990.
A decline in vehicle burglaries, grand theft and grand theft auto accounted for most of the decline, according to the figures.
The crime picture was not entirely positive. Robberies and homicides showed modest increases during the three-year period. One hundred robberies were reported in 1990, 122 in 1991 and 130 last year. There was one homicide in 1990, two in 1991 and three last year.
Officials said that efforts to reduce car thefts at the Commerce Shopping Center over the last two years helps explain the lower numbers in that category. The Whittier Boulevard shopping center has long been a target of car thieves, particularly at night near the center's movie theaters, Rowe said.
The city provides detailed crime information on such incidents--including days of the week and times of day--which has allowed property owners to identify trends and beef up private security. The increased number of community safety specialists also has helped reduce crime, Rowe said.