Police issue revised crime statistics

Andrew Edwards

Revised crime statistics show crime did not decrease by as great a

degree as stated in a previous report released last week, police

said. New numbers suggest that the amounts of serious crimes

committed in Laguna Beach have stayed roughly steady.

The statistics track serious crimes during the first six months of

2004 and 2003. The erroneous report indicated crime fell by 12%

during the first half this year, but new numbers show crime is down

by 1%, Lt. Mike Hall said.

The initial report incorrectly listed simple assaults as

aggravated assaults, Hall said. By including misdemeanors with

felonies in the 2003, the first report incorrectly indicated

aggravated assaults took a steep dive, from 62 to 12. However, only

22 felony assaults occurred in 2003. All other numbers in the report

remained the same after the revision.

"It was just a clerical error," Senior Records Manager Hilda

Madrid said.

The supposed drop in assaults led police to calculate that a

sizable chunk had been taken out of crime. The new numbers show that

the amounts of serious crimes in the periods surveyed were almost

equal. There were 315 serious crimes in the first half of 2003, and

313 in the first half of this year.

Serious crimes tracked in the report are murder, rape, robbery,

aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, grand theft auto and arson.

Police agencies across the country itemize those seven offenses when

calculating crime figures.

The revised report suggests that violent crimes in Laguna could be

on a downward trend. There were no homicides in the first halves of

2003 or 2004. There was one rape reported during the first six months

of 2003, none during the beginning of this year. The numbers also

show a decline in robberies.

In recent years, the number of aggravated assaults have hovered in

the 40s. In all of last year, 44 of those types of crimes were

reported, Hall said. There were 40 aggravated assaults in 2002, 45 in

2001 and 49 in 2000.

Though it seems the amount of felony assaults could be on pace to

dip, police have not added crimes committed during July or August to

figures, Hall said, noting it's difficult to forecast how many crimes

can occur in the future and that crime can be more frequent during

the busy summer season.

"Summer months, you would tend to think are a little more active,"

Hall said.

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