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Jan 2016
Crime in LAPD's Harbor Area rises nearly 20 percent

Major crime in the Harbor Area rose nearly 20 percent in 2015, a statistic about double the average across the Los Angeles Police Department's jurisdiction, according to statistics released this week.

LAPD crime reports through Dec. 26 show the numbers of homicides, robberies and aggravated assaults increased sharply in the Harbor Division's jurisdiction, as did burglaries, auto thefts, thefts from vehicles and other thefts.

Overall violent crime was up 34 percent, and property crimes were up nearly 17 percent in the area that includes San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor City and Harbor Gateway.

The rise comes as the city of Los Angeles recorded a 10.3 percent increase in crime through Dec. 26 compared to the same period in 2014. Citywide in Los Angeles, 280 homicides occurred in 2015, up from 254. Property crime was up 10 percent.

The increases reverse a 12-year trend of declining crime.

Crime statistics for other South Bay cities are usually released in January and February.

The Harbor Area's numbers for violent crimes show:

• Ten homicides occurred in 2015, compared to five in 2014;

• Robberies increased 27 percent to 294, compared to 231 a year earlier;

• Aggravated assaults rose to 673 from 459, an increase of nearly 47 percent;

• Rapes decreased by 30 percent, from 66 to 46.

In property crimes, every category increased:

• Burglary was up nearly 19 percent, from 734 to 871;

• Auto theft was up nearly 28 percent, from 817 to 1,043;

• Theft from vehicles rose 21 percent, from 1,029 to 1,249;

• Personal and other theft rose 3.5 percent from 1,099 to 1,137.

In other gun-related crimes, the number of "shots fired" calls climbed 52 percent, from 83 to 126, and the number of shooting victims increased 53 percent, from 34 to 52.

Child and spousal abuse reports dropped 1.2 percent, from 690 to 682.

Why the overall numbers jumped isn't clear. Lt. Susan Willis, the Harbor Area's detective bureau lieutenant, said gang activity has not increased in the Harbor Area. Although aggravated assaults have increased, they followed record low numbers the previous years and some changes in how the crimes are reported to the FBI, she said.

Thieves in the Harbor Area continue to target 1990s model Hondas because they are easy to steal, police said. The cars usually are recovered within a couple of days.Advertisement

"They are not stealing them for parts, they are stealing them for transportation," Willis said.

Vehicle owners continue to make themselves targets for break-ins and thefts, leaving laptop computers, cellphones and wallets inside their vehicles. Police routinely issue advisories asking residents to hide their valuables.

"We're getting the message out, but they are not helping us to help the crime stay down," Willis said.

Residents, however, are helping police by reporting more suspicious activity as it happens. People are calling the police while watching out for their neighbors' homes, not hesitating as long as in the past. Surveillance cameras also have helped police to catch criminals, she said.

"We are able to make arrests based on witnesses advising us what is going on in their neighborhood," Willis said. "Video is huge. That's helped us solve many crimes."

In the Harbor Division, statistics show arrests for violent crimes are up from 493 to 515, but overall the number of arrests in major crime is down 1.4 percent.

But Harbor detectives are filing 81 percent of their cases in court, higher than the city average of 66 percent, Willis said.

"If you come to Harbor," she said, "most likely you are going to be filed on."



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