Glendale crime rates surged last month

Glendale's overall drop in violent and property crimes in 2012 may be a short-lived trend as the city saw auto burglaries and assaults jump last month.

Property crimes increased from 270 in January 2012 to 330 last month, according to the Glendale Police Department's latest crime statistics, which also showed that the number of violent crimes rose slightly to 21.

While certain offenses climbed in January, officials say the increase doesn't immediately indicate residents will see more crime in the future.

“It's too early to say in this first month,” Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said. “We will know more in the next 30 to 60 days if a trend does develop.”

Auto burglaries rose from 44 in January 2012 to 69 due to a string of break-ins in underground parking structures, Lorenz said.

Thieves mostly targeted vehicles whose owners left valuables exposed and clearly visible to passersby.

A jump in aggravated assaults pushed the slight increase in overall violent crimes, Lorenz said.

Incidents of domestic violence as well as a shooting in which a Glendale acupuncturist was shot four times and survived contributed to the increase in assaults.

Last month, identity thefts edged up to 29 and the number of vandalism incidents increased from 44 to 56.

Similar increases in crime occurred in early 2012 when police combated a spree of residential burglaries, vehicle thefts and street robberies.

Police employed various tactics, including crime analysis and working with the community, to put a damper on the spike in crime, said Police Chief Ron De Pompa at a City Council meeting on Tuesday.

“We were not anticipating finishing the year this way,” he said.

Violent crime in 2012 decreased by 10% from 2011 and property crime dropped by 12%.

At the meeting, De Pompa pointed to national rankings, which put Glendale in 11th place nationally among cities with a population over 100,000, and it had the lowest number of property and violent crimes among most cities in the United States between January and June last year.

For the same period, Glendale ranked sixth in California.

“We just have to remain diligent if we want to retain the level of safety that we currently enjoy,” De Pompa said.

Councilwoman Laura Friedman on Tuesday said she was pleased with last year's overall decrease in crime as well as steps being taken to maintain the low rates.

“It's not just the police, but I have to say it's the people of Glendale, too,” she said. “People chose to live here because they are law-abiding and that's the kind of community they want.”


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