Year-end crime statistics for La Cañada Flintridge indicate 2018 wasn’t such a bad year for residential burglaries and violent offenses but did bring an increase in the number of property crimes overall, particularly thefts.
The Crescenta Valley Station logged a total of 231 larceny incidents last year, compared to 162 in 2017. Lt. Mark Slater, acting captain for the local station, attributed some of the nearly 43% increase to the addition of about 30 backlogged self-reports filed by citizens in previous years but not tabulated until 2018.
Larceny includes grand and petty theft, vehicle burglaries, shoplifting and incidents of identity theft that result in loss to victims — all of which are fairly common in cities like La Cañada, Slater said.
“I think the type of community we have is a target,” the lieutenant said Thursday. “It’s an upper scale, affluent community. People see dollar signs.”
Statistics on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s website show the Crescenta Valley Station logged 13 violent crimes last year (rape, robbery and aggravated assaults) compared to 16 the year before. Property crimes including burglary, larceny and grand theft auto, came in at 330, a nearly 15% increase from 287 reported incidents in 2017.
Despite what seemed like a rash of residential burglaries to hit La Cañada last year, particularly in the month of December, there were 19 fewer home break-ins in 2018 — or 86 reports — compared to the 105 reported in 2017.
Slater said the year-end reports give a snapshot of criminal activity in a city that can be tracked from year to year and provide deputies and station officials with insight into where further attention might be applied.
“It gives you a good indication of what’s going on in your community,” he said. “With burglaries, we can look at [the numbers] and start to identify patterns and crime trends and see if we can combat these.”
While La Cañadans made strides in protecting their neighborhoods by joining watch groups and taking advantage of city rebates for Ring video doorbells, there were still some areas for improvement.
Himself a victim of identity theft in 2016, Slater advised La Cañada residents to guard their personal items and information dearly.
“If you have an alarm, use it. If it’s not working, get it fixed,” he said. “Zip up your purse, and don’t leave it in those carts or on the back of chairs. Lock your car at night and get rid of the valuables from inside — and bring in your mail at night.”