LA CRESCENTA — Crescenta Valley and La Cañada Flintridge saw an overall drop in crime for the first seven months of this year, according to figures released Tuesday.
From Jan. 1 to July 31, there were eight arson fires, up from five, and violent crimes — rape, robbery and aggravated assault — nearly doubled to 43 incidents, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Station Capt. David Silversparre attributed the increase to recent bank robberies and shoplifting incidents in which the offender scuffled with officers and security guards.
So far this year, there's been one homicide, which is still under investigation, on March 20 when a man was shot to death on Little Tujunga Road. That left the rate unchanged compared with the same period last year, according to the Sheriff's Department.
Despite the upticks, the overall property and violent crime rate for the area served by the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station — La Crescenta, Montrose, Lake View Terrace and the Angeles National Forest — dropped 13.75%, according to the report. The crime rate is based on every 10,000 residents.
Property-related crimes — burglary, larceny theft and grand theft — experienced the steepest drop.
In the reporting period, there were 209 Part I crimes, including violent and property offenses, in La Cañada Flintridge, down 15.7% from the 247 during the same period last year, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Property and violent crimes also decreased in the unincorporated areas overseen by the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station.
Crime in those areas dropped 12% over the same periods, according to the department.
"We attempt to deal with reporting crime and work proactively as best we can," Silversparre said.
The crime statistics are used to address specific concerns, he added.
"I am constantly monitoring the crime rates in the individual-type crimes, and I pay attention to the investigative aspect of crimes," he said.
As of June 1, detectives conducted 38 search operations for parolees and people on probation, Silversparre said.
"Maintaining that reduced crime rate is something that is very important," he said.
Community partnerships, reserve officers and volunteers also help keep crime levels low for both communities, Silversparre said.
The sheriff's station personnel also often solicit input and crime tips from residents, said Cheryl Davis, president of the Crescenta Valley Town Council.
"I think the residents do a great job of being the eyes and ears for the sheriff's station," she said.
And while the area's midyear crime statistics were mostly positive, La Cañada City Manager Mark Alexander said residents must safeguard their belongings.
"We are very fortunate to live in a safe community, but people must remain diligent," he said.