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MBPD: Crime In Manhattan Beach Is Down

Oct 16, 2023 05:31PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Photo via MBPD

Crime in Manhattan Beach is...down? Although you might not hear that from reading local social media posts, it's down in every category, according to a report from the Manhattan Beach Police Department.

The crime report, given at the October 3 City Council meeting, might have been bigger news had it not been overtaken by the tragic death of Officer Chad Swanson on October 4. 

According to the report by MBPD Chief Rachel Johnson, crimes against persons (from Jan. 1 through August) in 2023 have gone down 43.6% compared to the same time span in 2022. When comparing 2023 to the past five-year average (from Jan. 1 through August), crimes against persons have gone down 16.7%.

Similarly, crimes against property have gone down 43.9% when comparing year-to-date (through August) numbers for 2022 and 2023. When comparing 2023 year-to-date to the past five-year average, crimes against property have gone down 6.4%.

"While these numbers look really really good - while I’m proud of the work our community has done, and proud of the work our police officers have done - we need to look at this and pat ourselves on the back, and remain focused on continuing to drive down crime in our community," said Johnson. "I encourage everyone to take these numbers for what they are, but also remember that crime is cyclical and this is an ongoing thing where there is no 'finish line.'"

There have been significant year-over-year decreases across the "Crimes Against Persons" category, with rape down 80%, robbery down 8%, simple assault down 55%, and aggravated assault down 30%.

In the "Crimes Against Property" category, burglary is down 52%, larceny is down 38%, and vehicle theft is down 68%. Last year, said Johnson, half of the vehicle thefts involved situations where the keys had been left in the car. This year, only 1/4 of the thefts involved leaving keys in the car - an important improvement in car owners' watchfulness.

For the year to date, there have been 24,482 calls for service. Of those calls, 10,719 were dispatched calls (calls coming in from the community) and 13,763 were officer-initiated calls (calls from officers on traffic stops, foot beats, or engaging in the community).

"When officers are not on calls, they’re not all at Dunkin'," said Johnson. "They’re out making proactive stops to address community concerns. This is a number I’m very proud of. It’s a great day when our activity outpaces our calls for service."

"Zero Bail" or Pre-Arraignment Release Protocols

Under L.A. County's "Pre-Arraignment Release Protocols," commonly referred to as "zero bail," which went into effect at the beginning of the month, officers generally have three choices when making an arrest for most misdemeanors and some felonies. The first two options are to cite and release or to book and release suspects. A third option is that some offenses (including abuse of elderly, abuse of children, or anything involving firearms) are either automatically sent for review by a judge (or in other cases, police can request a review).

Serious and violent crimes are not affected by the new policy and still require bail. 

Johnson said that the police have been watching the situation closely but it is too early to determine the policy's impact.

"Our mission remains unchanged - we arrest people, we take them to jail. We submit good cases to the D.A. for review and filing," said Johnson. "No matter what the winds of other parts of criminal justice system bring us, we remain steadfast in doing what we do."

Johnson concluded by reminding community members to call the non-emergency police number - (310) 545-4566 - anytime they see something suspicious. "I talk to community members all the time and they say, 'I don’t want to bother you' - Well, we are in the 'bother' business," she said.

A community town hall hosted by the police department is scheduled for November 16 (Time TBA) at the Joslyn Center.

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