Los Angeles County’s “Safer at Home” response to the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be true for La Cañada Flintridge residents with a decline in crime, and most notably, a decrease in residential burglaries.
“I think obviously the ‘Stay at Home’ order has helped reduce overall crime,” Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Todd Deeds said in a phone interview. “As you know, residential burglaries have been a problem [in LCF] over the past years, and the numbers we’ve had have been positive.”
Deeds reported there was only one residential burglary in La Cañada during the month of April and one so far in May in which the suspect was caught. According to the Crescenta Valley Station’s crime report last week, there was an arrest made after a woman, who was home, reported a man trying to open her back sliding-door window. Officers later found the suspect walking nearby.
No residential burglaries have been reported in La Crescenta in April or May, he added.
Crime has been trending downward since the beginning of the year, according to the statistics provided by the L.A. County Sherriff’s Department during the Public Safety Commission meeting on Monday. From January through March, there were a total of 59 offenses, which included homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglaries, larceny, grand theft auto and arson. The number marked a 39% decrease compared to last year’s statistics during the same period. Offenses involving vandalism, narcotics and identity theft/fraud were also down 44% from 2019.
However, there were a few spikes in the traffic report provided by the sheriff’s department. Those numbers indicated 213 warnings and 585 citations were issued in the first three months of the year. In 2019, there had been 136 warnings and 306 citations through March.
“We wrote a lot of citations at the beginning of the year,” Deeds acknowledged. “When the ‘Stay at Home’ order took place, we haven’t written nearly as many and really cut back on citations.”
Deputies have been more lenient on citations as of late to remain safe and have less contact with members of the community because of COVID-19 concerns. Deeds added that they have mostly issued warnings, and that includes recent public health safety offenses, such as wearing a face mask.
LCF commission members had expressed concerns about the possibility of crime reports going up because inmates who committed less serious crimes were released amid efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in jails. However, Deeds assured that the deputies have been on high visibility patrol and detectives have also made the rounds during the weekend.
ALTADENA SHERIFF’S STATION TO REMAIN OPEN
L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva reversed his decision to close the Altadena Sheriff’s Station on Tuesday following concerns from the Board of Supervisors, State Assemblymember Chris Holden and a collective indication of worry among LCF residents, after it was announced the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station would be slated to cover the Altadena patrols left vacant by the closure.
Following the May 4 announcement of the closure the Altadena and Marina Del Rey stations because of budget cuts, Holden expressed his concerns in a letter to Villanueva, and in a statement he released on Tuesday, said the two spoke over the phone. Villanueva told the Assemblyman that the Altadena Sheriff’s Station will remain “open to the public but undergo some administrative consolidation,” according to a release from Holden.
“While any reduction in staff or resources is troublesome, it is encouraging to hear that Altadena residents will not experience a shutdown of their station that is invaluable to the community,” Holden said. “I look forward to working with Sheriff Villanueva and the County to ensure the safety and security of the community stays intact.”
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors had also taken action on the matter on Tuesday, voting unanimously to halt Villanueva’s plans to close both stations. The motion made by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Kathryn Barger also directs the Sheriff to identify properly vetted budget curtailments that will have the least impact on public safety.
“These station closures were announced without any vetting or advance notice, validation of cost savings, or assessment of impact on public safety,” Ridley-Thomas said in a statement. “As a result, our communities are rightly concerned — as is this Board. The Sheriff’s Department must achieve the necessary cost savings and budget curtailments needed to address the Department’s deficit and the County’s revenue shortfall in a more transparent, collaborative and democratic way without jeopardizing service to our communities.”
Members of the La Cañada Flintridge Public Safety Commission noted they were worried that the CV Sheriff’s Station would be spread thin with closure of the Altadena location, but they were reassured that the city would not be affected.
“We really don’t know what’s going to happen as of yet,” Deeds said in regards to the Altadena station. “What I can say is it would not lessen the level of service in La Cañada.
“Everything is still up in the air. What they’re looking at doing now is cutting some administrative staff. But we will still have a number of personnel patrolling. We are not going to cut back on our services to the community.”