Reports of Major Crimes Mostly Decrease, but Burglaries Rise

This article was originally published in the Burbank Leader on Aug. 28

Reports of most major crimes in Burbank decreased last month, according to city police data, though burglaries continued to see an increase.
The Burbank Police Department received 224 reports of Part 1 Index Crimes in July, down from 236 in May. Thefts, by far the most common such crime in the city, fell from 183 to 160 over the same period.
The department has recorded 1,347 Part 1 Index Crime reports from January through July this year — the lowest total for the year’s first seven months in at least 10 years. In 2020, 1,545 crimes were reported for the same period.
Law enforcement agencies often examine Part 1 crimes — which include murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, robberies, burglaries, thefts and auto thefts — to gauge trends.

The BPD received fewer reports last month than in June for five out of the seven incident types; burglaries increased from 27 to 35, continuing an uptick seen since April. However, the number of burglaries reported from the beginning of this year through July — 153 — is lower than the total reported for the same period in 2020 — 174.
Conversely, while the number of reported thefts decreased from June to July, the total this year through July — 1,153 — is higher than it was for the same period last year: 1,080. But 2020’s lower total appears to be due partially to the initial coronavirus restrictions; 2019’s total for the period was 1,240.
Violent crimes, which primarily consist of aggravated assaults, appear to be on the rise so far this year compared to the January-to-July period in the past two years. The BPD recorded 137 such incidents through July this year, compared with 122 and 114 in 2020 and 2019, respectively. But all three figures are lower than 2018’s total: 165.
One alleged murder — a relative rarity in Burbank — was reported last month. Police said a 27-year-old woman working at the Burbank Retirement Villa died on July 30 after being repeatedly stabbed by a man. Officers soon arrested a suspect, whom the BPD identified as 27-year-old San Fernando resident Paul Lawrence Dunbar Haney IV, alleging he also swung a knife at them. Police said he had recently been fired from the facility.
Authorities charged Haney with murder; the woman’s name has not been released. Haney is scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 2.
Last month also marked a year since Burbank police recorded another alleged murder: a shooting at a house on Cambridge Drive. Responding officers found two men dead from gunshot wounds, including 41-year-old Burbank resident Armen Sahakyan — his wife was also critically wounded. Burbank police said at the time that the other man who was killed, Los Angeles resident Edward Lopez, was a suspect in Sahakyan’s death.
Police have released few further details in the months following the shooting. Sgt. Emil Brimway of the BPD confirmed this week that the case remains open and active.