A nearly 43% rise in reports of larceny thefts contributed to an overall increase in so-called Part I crimes in La Cañada Flintridge in 2018 compared with the previous year, according to figures released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Part I crimes include violent and property crimes, but reports of most violent offenses in LCF fell significantly last year compared with 2017, a local sheriff’s official said.
“The biggest spike is in larcenies,” said Lt. Mark Slater, interim captain at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, adding that residents can take control in preventing them. Larceny thefts, he said, include crimes such as mail theft and identity theft.
“Empty your mail box, lock your vehicle, have lights on your driveway to light up your vehicle,” Slater said. “I think people can really engage in some precautionary measures to help reduce that. Most of the time, identify theft is not someone lurking around your neighborhood tapping into your computer. If you reduce their ability to get your information by taking your mail inside every night and lock the car doors, it will help reduce crimes in the area.”
There were 231 reports of larceny theft in LCF last year, compared with 162 in 2017, according to the recently released figures. The report also showed 343 Part I crimes were reported last year, compared with 303 the previous year.
The figures refer only to reports of crime received by the department, not to arrests or convictions.
A complicating factor with regard to the larceny theft reports is that the station discovered a “bug” in the procedure for making crime reports online, Slater said.
“Last year, we found approximately 70 online reports that were never processed going back to a year,” Slater said. “When we cleared those out and put them in the right categories, part of it spiked larceny and part of it spiked other categories. It was an error on our part.”
There were also 330 property crimes last year compared with 287 the previous year. Such offenses include arson, grand theft auto, larceny theft and burglary.
On a positive note, reports of violent crimes dropped more than 18% from the previous year, according to the statistics.
There were reports of two rapes last year compared with one the prior year.
Slater said the numbers come from reports taken by sheriff’s deputies, with the statistics then sent on to the FBI.
Homicides remained at zero, while reports of grand theft auto (13) and robberies (four) decreased by more than 30% from the previous year. Aggravated assault also dropped by more than 22%.
Slater attributed the improvement to methods embraced by the station’s previous commander, Capt. Chris Blasnek. “He had some good procedures in place to deal with crime, and the deputies out in the field are taking it seriously and being proactive. Detectives are doing follow-up and identifying people and identifying crime trends, and hopefully when you identify them you break the cycle. But you’re also seeing with burglaries one crew is identified and another crew is doing the same thing again.”
Blasnek recently was promoted to a post in downtown Los Angeles.
Slater said that reports of violent robberies were down, but drew attention to one that was committed in mid-December; a married couple was robbed in LCF before the suspects committed similar crimes in other cities, including Burbank, before being arrested.
“It was a crime of opportunity,” Slater said. “They saw the couple; they victimized them, went to another community and did the same thing. We’ll see that with our freeway access. We always see those. Be aware of your surroundings when getting in and out of the car. You have to continuously look.”
Slater said his station will focus on the LCF areas that saw an increase in crime and “definitely keep things going” to make sure crime stays down elsewhere.