Laguna Beach sees drop in violent and property crimes, police report

The Laguna Beach Police Department.
Laguna Beach police reported automobile thefts in the city rose from 37 in 2021 to 47 in 2022 but dropped to 35 in 2023, representing a 25.6% decrease.
(Andrew Turner)

Laguna Beach police are reporting a decline in property crime and offenses of a violent nature for a second successive year, the data provided by the department signaling a significant decrease in theft.

The city saw reported automobile thefts rise from 37 in 2021 to 47 in 2022, but the numbers dropped to 35 in 2023, representing a 25.6% decrease.

Incidents of larceny also fell from 239 to 225 over the past year, representing a nearly 6% difference.


“This reduction in overall crime is a testament to the unwavering passion of our police force, coupled with the incredible support of our community,” Police Chief Jeff Calvert said in a statement. “While we take pride in this achievement, our mission to transform into the safest coastal community in Orange County remains our top priority. We are committed to sustaining exceptional policing practices and fostering meaningful community partnerships to realize this goal.”

A dozen crimes were classified as robberies, up from eight in 2022. Authorities noted that weapons were used on just a couple of those occasions.

The police department’s crime statistics also show that one homicide and one rape occurred in town. No arsons were reported in the past calendar year after five reported in the combined prior two years.

Laguna Beach receives funds for traffic enforcement

The Laguna Beach Police Department has received a $190,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to assist with enforcement efforts on its streets.

“Driving under the influence, excessive speed and other dangerous driving behaviors cause an elevated risk for our community and other motorists on the road,” Police Sgt. Randy Bitonti said. “This funding provides the Laguna Beach Police Department with the ability to increase resources towards traffic enforcement and education with the ultimate goal of reducing injury and fatal traffic accidents on our roadways.”

The funds can be put toward enforcement operations aimed at taking distracted and impaired drivers off the road, as well as measures seeking to curtail leading causes of traffic collisions such as speeding, red-light violations and improper lane changes and turns.

The grant may also be used to provide education and enforcement for bicycle and pedestrian safety, officer training and qualifying purchases like a police motorcycle.