Glendale police investigate homicide

Glendale police investigate the scene of a homicide at 1830 Irving Ave. on Monday, November 18, 2013. (Roger Wilson / Staff Photographer / January 15, 2014)

For the first time in four years, the overall crime rate increased slightly in Glendale last year, with a spike in the number of property offenses.

While violent crimes — which include homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults — remained low last year, property crimes jumped and pushed up the overall crime rate by 3%, from 3,283 incidents in 2012 to 3,383 last year.

Still, police expected violent crimes to stay down, which is in line with a nationwide reduction, Glendale Police Chief Robert Castro said Wednesday at a Community Police Partnership Advisory Committee meeting.

And while the number of property crimes has been low for several years, police projected it would eventually increase following the court-ordered release of thousands of prisoners into Los Angeles County.

“We are trying to adjust with the mandate placed on us by the state,” he said.

The inmates, who were convicted of nonviolent and nonserious offenses, are often repeat offenders while others are drug users, Castro said. Stealing valuables to exchange for cash is how many of them support their drug habits, he said.

“Consequences, right now, are not very significant,” Castro said, adding that jail is a “revolving door.”

Many offenders, he said, are “not held accountable” for their actions.

So the Police Department created a task force last year to better monitor inmates, who were placed into post-release community supervision.

Still, increases in the number of break-ins, auto burglaries and petty thefts drove up property crimes by 5%, climbing from 3,030 incidents in 2012 to 3,201 last year, according to the Police Department’s 2013 crime statistics released this week.

Petty thefts jumped 10% from 2012, while auto break-ins increased by 4% and burglaries rose 9%.

The crimes could be avoided, Castro said, by better educating residents on how to protect their valuables and neighborhood.

“If you make it harder for [criminals], they will go somewhere else,” he said.

Property crime also saw decreases in the number of reported arsons as well as auto and grand thefts.

Violent crime dropped 22%, declining from 233 incidents in 2012 to 182 last year. However, in 2013, the city had its first homicide since 2009.

The Police Department also recorded a slight increase in the number of reported rapes. Last year, eight rapes were reported, which was up by two from 2012.

Police saw a 30.5% decrease in robberies and a 17.6% drop in the number of reported aggravated assaults.

Part II offenses, such as fraud, sex offenses, vandalism and drug and weapons violations, dropped by 1.3%, with 7,303 incidents reported last year.

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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