GLENDALE — Property-related crimes rose sharply during the first six months of 2010, while violent crimes largely dropped, according to the latest Glendale police crime statistics.
Property crimes, including thefts and home and vehicle burglaries, jumped to 1,941 between January and June, up from 1,784 for the same period last year, according to the police figures.
Petty thefts saw the largest increase with 747 through June, up from 648 compared with the same period last year. Home burglaries during the six-month period jumped from 288 last year to 355 this year. Auto burglaries saw a slight jump, from 406 to 417.
"It's tough because we have minimal resources, so it's a challenge, and that's why the area command structure, along with a very robust crime analysis process and community partnerships, are so important to us to be successful here," Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.
He attributed the increase in property crime to an influx of parolees being released from prison early.
"We continue to see a strong nexus between specific crime sprees or hotspots and certain parolees committing those crimes, so it's a reoccurring thing," he said.
With the nation still mired in a recession, most cities are experiencing more property-related crimes, De Pompa said.
"Crimes of opportunity can present an opportunity for economic gain and are crimes that are going to flourish in the economic recession, so that's what we are seeing," he said.
Police have been concerned about an increasing trend known as fishing, in which thieves visit neighborhoods late at night and check for unlocked car doors to steal any valuables left inside.
Mayor Ara Najarian is all too familiar with auto burglaries.
His car was burglarized five months ago after forgetting to lock the doors, he said. Thieves stole an iPod and other valuables.
"I think the message is that we have to be ever more cautious and vigilant in protecting our homes and property from the upswing in property crimes," Najarian said.
Violent crimes, including robbery, aggravated assault and homicide, took a dip from 147 in the six-month period last year to 128 this year.
The number of reported rapes increased from three in the half-year period in 2009 to nine this year, according to police statistics.
De Pompa said the increase didn't represent a new trend in the city.
"One of those crimes is one too many, and we pursue those very aggressively," he said.
Glendale police have been relying more on new technology and the new area command system to fight crime.
They have also been reaching out to residents as another source for crime tips.
"One of the most important strategies is to have that strong partnership where we are sharing information, and the community can serve as eyes and ears out there in terms of reporting suspicious activity because when they do, it typically leads to the ability for us to solve crimes," De Pompa said.