(Los Alamitos, 10/4/2013) Dave E here, apologizing for my belated posting of another great column on a topic that touches us all from our Thursday “Highlands’ Guy” columnist, with a couple ideas that our Council could initiate immediately:
by Highlands’ Guy: I’ve been looking at the, very brief, crime reports in the local papers over the last few years. Its importance is that we at least get to see some reference to the negative side of our little community.
Crime is reality just as much as a winning football program or a high four year college acceptance rate.
Is our local crime rate increasing?
I have not been able to find the sort of statistics, that are available in many other cities, but the blurbs in the News Enterprise and the Sun paint a picture of an increasing crime rate. Just a few of the recent entries that happen all the time, all around us:
- A report of an unauthorized taking of a utility trailer…within the past ten days.
- A report of an unauthorized entry into a residence, with loss of property.
- A report of unauthorized taking of personal property from a business.
- Suspect arrested…for under the influence of a controlled substance.
- Suspect arrested…for outstanding warrants.
- Arrested: Female, 16 years…for assault with a deadly weapon.
- Suspicious person, pretending to be a Southern Cal Edison worker at front door.
- Suspicious vehicle, white van reportedly cruising the area and “watching” houses.
- A report of property taken during the last 3 hrs from a laundry room.
- Suspect making threats and refusing to leave an establishment without his change.
The list goes on and on, day after day, week after week.
The 2010 Perspective: Los Al Crime trending up:
CityRating.com does have a page full of Los Alamitos Crime Info, but the statistsics are only current through 2010, as you can see in the graph above.
Los Alamitos crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 11 years with violent crime decreasing and property crime increasing. Based on this trend, the crime rate in Los Alamitos for 2013 is expected to be higher than in 2010.
In 2010 the city violent crime rate in Los Alamitos was lower than the violent crime rate in California by 72.84% and the city property crime rate in Los Alamitos was lower than the property crime rate in California by 9.51%.
One nearby source of crime in Rossmoor & Rossmoor Highlands?
While it’s now easier to run up to all sorts of places to grab something to eat or go to the close-by big-box store (none of which add to our tax base, by the way) the impact of traffic, noise, air pollution, and crime that come with these new businesses, can be felt, and heard, all over the city.
Locals like to tout how safe it is here. Our friends in real estate pull it out of their “selling” tool box to try to close a deal. And I’m pretty sure our buddies in Rossmoor and Seal Beach are in the same, or at least a similar, boat.
So, I guess the point I’m getting to is that we need to know if, in fact, we are as safe as we think we are, and as we like to tell folks from other places.
Too close to my home:
I must note here that our family has twice been the target of local crime, and thus my comments, although not intentional, may lean toward the negative.
But my perception of the crime in Los Alamitos (from drunk drivers, to home and vehicle break-ins, to arrest for warrants, to burglary, to business related) is that it has increased over the last 6 or 7 years, even though our population numbers have been pretty static.
Maybe I’m misinterpreting the crime reports or maybe I don’t know the full story.
Getting the big picture:
I think what I need is to get a better handle on the big picture, as seen through the eyes of the various stake holders: LAPD, business owners, maintenance personnel, local victims, etc. With this information I will then be able to make better voting and hard money decisions based on the facts.
I’m willing to bet that there are lots of local folks who feel this way also, but are not at City Council meetings asking some of these hard questions.
I thought about what form my education might take and realized that the basic structure is really already in place.
There needs to be two major areas of focus:
- The perspective of those that live/work/play in the city and the second is from city personnel, both paid and elected. Perhaps this could be explored in a “town hall” kind of meeting, gathering folks willing to share their experiences with their friends, neighbors, fellow workers, and business owners.
- The perspective of Los Al’s finest. This certainly needs to be a vital part of an annual ‘state of the city’ address, but I propose that we get a department report by the Chief or his representative as a regular part of each council meeting. Wouldn’t it be appropriate for the council and the public to know, for instance, if the red light cameras are effective and achieving their goals, or an analysis of crime statistics over time, department needs and wants, or an opportunity to educate us on the best way to evaluate the effectiveness the LAPD.
Obviously the goal is not about pointing fingers, but merely to gain a realistic perception of crime in our little burg, that can then serve a variety of functions, including realistic expectations if one is thinking about living or setting up business here.
“Your own safety is at stake when your neighbor’s wall is ablaze”
- Horace (65 BC – 8 BC) A leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Agustus.
Spokesman for the newly minted Empire. Influenced writers through the 20th century.
…And that’s just the way I see it.