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By Kendra Ablaza, Staff Writer
January 29, 2013 - The city’s overall violent crime rate is at the lowest it has been since 1972, according to the final 2012 crime statistics the Long Beach Police Department released last week. Commercial burglaries have also decreased by 2 percent from 935 incidents in 2011 to 917 incidents in 2012.
Though overall citywide violent crime for rape, robbery and aggravated assault decreased 5.3 percent in 2012 compared to 2011, the number of murders increased. Last year, the city recorded 30 murders, with 14 considered gang-related. However, police reported this number to be 14.3 percent below the five-year average. In 2011, 26 murders were recorded, the lowest number in recorded history, compared to 31 murders in 2010 and 40 murders in 2009.
Long Beach’s property crime category, on the other hand, rose 10 percent from 2011 due to increasing residential and garage burglaries and vehicle thefts. The report stated residential burglaries and theft incidents went up by about 19 percent in 2012, and garage burglaries by 46.2 percent, or 506 incidents compared to 346 incidents in 2011.
“Last year we as a department focused on violent crime, and our 40-year low is something for the city to really be proud of,” Police Chief Jim McDonnell said in a statement. “As to property crime, we really need the community to step up and eliminate simple opportunities for property to be stolen. The department will always do what it can with the resources we are given, but we’re always better when we have the focus and support of the community.”