GLENDALE — Police officials are attributing a higher property crime rate partly to the continued inflow of parolees released under a state program designed to reduce the prison inmate population.
Seventeen parolees, some of whom could be early-release inmates, will be freed from prison in the next three months and plan to live in Glendale, Sgt. Tom Lorenz said. The incoming parolees were convicted of drug sales, second-degree murder, drive-by shooting, sex crimes and property crimes.
In the last 45 days, 12 other parolees convicted of a similar range of crimes have moved to Glendale, Lorenz said.
The former prison inmates make up an already extensive list of 264 active parolees who live in the city, he added.
The number of recently released inmates without parole supervision who call Glendale home is a fraction of the total at 13, he said. Burbank has 13 early-release parolees, and Pasadena has 35, Lorenz added.
"Many of these parolees do not understand city limits and boundaries," he said.
Still, with the increase in the city's parolee population, police officials said they have also seen a jump in property crimes.
"What we are continuing to find is that many of our sprees and hotspots and series are tied ultimately back to parolees, and the recidivism rate that has long been established through studies is very apparent in what we find today in the streets with our crime," Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.
Property crimes increased to 1,941 between January and June this year, up from 1,784 for the same period last year, according to department statistics.
Areas with the most thefts and auto burglaries coincide with the most dense parolee population, according to Police Department crime maps.
"It is a perfect storm environment in that parolees are being released earlier than they normally would be," De Pompa said. "They are coming back into an environment where most municipalities have reduced services, and it's during a economic recession where it's near impossible to find employment, so it really leaves the parolee in a no-win situation as well … It then becomes almost an issue of surviving, [and they] resort back to their criminal enterprises to survive."
To keep track of recently released parolees, the Police Department developed a database that keeps records of inmates who are stopped by officers.
The system accumulates details on a parolee's physical characteristics, crimes committed, vehicle descriptions, alleged gang affiliation and photographs.
The new tool comes as the state and county jails continue to release inmates without parole supervision to ease overcrowding, cut costs and reduce the burden on overworked agents.