The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) is reporting crime has decreased citywide for the third year running.
In 2021, about 2.9 percent fewer Part 1 offenses — crimes including homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, grand theft auto and arson — were reported in the city compared to 2020. This follows a 5.5 percent reduction in those crimes from 2019 to 2020, and a 16 percent reduction from 2018 to 2019.
The data comes from new data released by the SMPD aggregating serious crime statistics for 2021. The SMPD data compares last year’s numbers to crimes recorded in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
According to previous reporting by the Daily Press, crime in Santa Monica had been steadily increasing from 2014 until a recent peak in 2018.
Those numbers were still a fraction of the rate at which Part 1 crimes reported in the 1980s and 1990s. Whereas there were 10,891 Part 1 crimes reported in 1992 — when crime peaked in the City — just 4,248 such crimes were reported in the past year.
In 2018, a total of 5,441 Part 1 crimes were reported; in 2019, that dropped to 4,601; in 2020, it again dropped to 4,377; in 2021, numbers slightly decreased to 4,248.
Some crimes, like strong arm robberies (which the City reports as the most common type of robbery committed), saw a drop off from 272 in 2018 to 157 in 2021.
“Strong armed robbery is committed with a threat of force or intimidation that usually does not involve a weapon,” according to an infographic provided by the City of Santa Monica.
However, property crimes like non-residential burglaries, grand theft auto and auto parts theft (such as the theft of catalytic converters) have seen sharp increases in recent years. In 2018, 236 grand theft incidents were reported; in 2021, that number was up 77 percent to 420. In 2020, there were 394 grand thefts reported.
While thefts from vehicles plummeted from 2018 to 2021, auto parts thefts more than tripled.
Arson reports have also increased sharply in recent years. Overall for 2021, 81 arsons were reported in Santa Monica, with more than 40 percent involving trash and recycle bins set on fire. That’s a steady increase from 2018, when just 18 arsons were reported citywide.
The City’s murder rate remained stable after a 2018 spike. Last year, two murders were reported in the City of Santa Monica; in 2020, one murder took place. The 2018 spike saw seven murders reported within the city.
Rapes continued to decrease, with 23 reported in 2021 down from 49 in 2018 and 37 in 2020.