Violence in city on the rise, FBI reports

BURBANK ? Violent crime in Glendale rose from 2004 to 2005, following a nationwide increase in murder, robberies and aggravated assaults, but numbers in Burbank told a different story, according to FBI data released on Monday.

In Glendale, there were 19 murders in 2005 compared to five in 2004, according to the bureau's Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report for 2005.

A majority of the increase can be attributed to the Jan. 26 Metrolink train derailment when Juan Manuel Alvarez allegedly parked his 1993 Jeep Cherokee on the train tracks near Chevy Chase Drive, causing the three-train wreck that killed 11 people and injured nearly 200 others. But the remaining eight would still constitute a rise from the five in 2004.

"Nineteen deaths in the City of Glendale at the hands of another are certainly discouraging numbers," Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said. "And it's not an excuse, but 11 of course were from Metrolink, a single incident."

The FBI report based the 4.8% increase in homicides across the United States on reports from more than 12,000 law enforcement agencies across the country.

The increase followed a nationwide 2.4% dip in homicides in 2004 from the previous year, according to the report.

While murder rates jumped across the country, the highest increases were in cities with populations of 100,000 to 249,999, with an increase of 12.5%, the report said.

While Glendale followed the national trend with an increase in murders, robberies and aggravated assaults, it did not follow a nationwide 1.9% decrease in forcible rapes.

There were 14 forcible rapes in Glendale in 2005 versus 11 in 2004, according to the reports.

"We are certainly concerned about any increase in violent crime?. about any spikes in either direction on the crime rate," Glendale Police Chief Randy Adams said. "We're definitely a growing city and urban area, and still want to strive to keep that small-town feel."

In Burbank, however, violent crime decreased, with one less murder in 2005 than 2004, and a decrease in the number of forcible rapes and robberies, according to the report.

Burbank had three murders in 2005 versus four in 2004, 13 forcible rapes last year versus 14 in 2004 and 67 robberies in 2005 versus 82 in 2004, according to the report.

Aggravated assaults increased by one, from 162 to 163.

Despite nationwide trends showing an increase in violent crime for the first time in five years, there is no way to explain why, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said.

"Crime cannot continue to fall year after year after year," he said. "It's pretty unusual to see crime go in one direction for an extended period of time."

Crime can be attributed to a number of factors, including socioeconomic status, cultural issues in a certain area and the effectiveness of law enforcement, among other factors, Bresson said.

"It's a complex question to answer, it's just not that easy," he said.

"We don't even really try to attempt to answer that. Our report is just to give an overall picture, an overall scope of crime."

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