Thefts are linked to economy

GLENDALE — Police have linked the economic downturn to a significant jump in property crime in the city during the first six months of 2008

Property crimes — such as burglary, auto theft, auto burglary, grand theft, petty theft and arson — rose to 2,061 incidents in January through June from 1,782 incidents in the first six months of 2007, according to Glendale police crime statistics.

The upward trend will likely continue if economic struggles persist, police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

“What’s unfortunate is that during economic hard time, people tend to do things they normally wouldn’t do,” Lorenz said.

“I don’t think residents in the community should be concerned. I think they should be vigilant about what is going on around them.”

Burglaries jumped from 303 incidents in the first six months of 2007 compared to 318 from January through June 2008, auto thefts went from 236 to 239, auto burglaries increased from 343 to 370 and grand theft went from 261 to 293, according to the statistics.

The jump in thefts can be linked to a rash of burglaries in La Crescenta, police said. A group of teenagers had been committing the burglaries to sustain their heroin addiction. The teens reportedly were responsible for 37 auto burglaries in the area.

Petty theft increased to 840 incidents in January through June 2008 compared to 631 in the first six months of 2007.

A decrease in robberies from 80 to 76 may be attributed to criminals going underground due to an increased police presence or they may be in hiding because they provided information about their criminal enterprise, said police Capt. Ray Edey of the Investigative Services Division.

Residents can stay up to speed on how to safeguard themselves from crime trends by attending Neighborhood Watch or the citizen-organized Crime Stoppers group meetings.

Police officers generally attend the meetings and provide tips — such as installing automatic lighting outside a home or clearing up brush — to residents so they can protect their homes from thieves.


 VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

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