Crime declines, watchfulness rises

Despite an uptick in residential burglaries, there was an overall drop in crime in La Cañada Flintridge in 2011, a local law enforcement official said this week.

Major crimes declined by 3.23% this year, according to statistics provided by Capt. David Silversparre, commander of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station.

This year’s decline in crime builds on a trend that was reported in 2010, Silversparre said. Last year saw an 11.33% drop in major crimes, compared to 2009.

“Overall, I am pleased with the reduction in crime over the previous couple of years in La Cañada Flintridge,” he said. “We’re still moving in the right direction.”

Breaking down the statistics, robberies were down from seven in 2010 to two incidents this year, while arsons dropped from four to two. There were three more thefts this year than last.

Burglaries decreased by 5.62% overall, Silversparre said, but residential burglaries increased, a trouble area that the city is looking to address.

“Property thefts are a concern. The Sheriff’s Department and the city have been throwing a lot of resources at this,” said Silversparre.

Silversparre said the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station recently received the support of the county’s Major Crimes Bureau and Community Oriented Policing Bureau in its efforts to suppress residential burglaries. He said that after experiencing one burglary per day at the start of this month, just two have occurred since Dec.12. Silversparre said he considers this an encouraging sign.

Andy Beattie, chairman of the city’s Public Safety Commission, echoed Silversparre’s concern about vehicle and residential burglaries.

“We have had an occasional uptick in vehicle crime, vehicle burglary, and a minor uptick in residential burglary,” he said. “These are not crime waves, they are crimes of opportunity.”

Beattie said the commission will focus on educating residents to help prevent these crimes.

“Going into next year, we want to continue to push and educate about these crimes of opportunity,” he said. “Don’t provide crimes of opportunity for people to fall into, don’t leave valuables open and visible, do lock your cars, do lock your doors.”

Also emphasizing the importance of addressing the burglary issue was Kevin Chun, the city’s director of administrative services.

“We do have our share of issues in terms of burglaries. While it is relatively low, compared to other cities in the county, it is an issue we are highlighting and want to work on,” he said.

Chun pointed out that public safety involves more than just crime. He said the city wants La Cañada residents to become better prepared for emergencies.

“The [Nov. 30] windstorm was a good reminder for being prepared for any kind of emergency,” he said. “Services might not be available, power, emergency services, public safety.... We want residents to prepare, have ample supplies available for themselves.”

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