Crime statistics in Santa Monica are holding steady year on year according to new data released by the Santa Monica Police Department that compares the first six months of this year to the first halves of past years.

Serious crimes, known as Part 1 (including homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, grand theft auto and arson) decreased by a statistically insignificant nine calls year on year. Less serious crimes, known as Part 2 (including simple assault, DUIs, fraud, vandalism and narcotics) Increased by 8 percent or just over 100 calls with almost all of that accounted for in a single category: simple assault. 

Simple assaults include threats of violence and physical harm that results in minimal injuries. Those calls increased from 252 in the first six months of last year to 342 this year. Simple assaults had dropped considerably from 2019 to 2020 and while this year’s numbers showed an increase, 2022 totals were still below 2018 and 2019. 

Public intoxication showed a similar trend. There were 276 calls in 2018, 242 in 2019, 111 in 2020 and 98 in 2021. That figure increased to 124 this year. 

SMPD said it continues to use social media to help residents, especially the elderly, avoid online scams and cases of fraud decreased from 129 last year to 99 this year. 

Of the 2,173 serious crimes reported in the last six months, 1,257 were larceny. Larceny has long accounted for near or just over 50 percent of the City’s serious crimes and is defined as theft of personal property that doesn’t involve violence (robbery) or breaking in (burglary). Examples include theft from vehicles, shoplifting, auto parts, bicycle theft, pickpockets and purse snatching. 

Larceny calls decreased this year from 1,314 mostly in declining cases of stolen bicycles and auto parts. Theft from vehicles however increased. While not larceny, car theft continues to be a problem increasing from 189 calls last year to 274 this year.  

Burglary decreased year on year after a large spike in 2020. 

 “Notably, Non-Residential burglary decreased from 220 incidents in 2021 to 153 in 2022,” said SMPD in a statement. “Residents are encouraged to contact their Crime Prevention Coordinator to request a free home security assessment.”

Aggravated assaults increased from 167 in 2021 to 187 in 2022 over the same time period. Firearm usage increased from 13 incidents to 19. 

While nine incidents of rape were reported during the first two quarters of 2021, there were 17 during the same time period in 2022, similar to the statistics for 2019 and 2020. 

Arson calls also continue to increase (from 30 to 44) with about 45% involving city-owned trash containers. 

SMPD has conducted a series of targeted operations in the Downtown area recently and is using new mobile cameras/drones to supplement traditional officers. 

“We remain sensitive to and respectful of the experiences of our residents, businesses, and visitors,” said SMPD’s statement. “Our focus and attention to issues of crime and disorder will always be a top priority at SMPD. In the first two quarters of 2022, arrests are up 26% and the department continues to increase visibility through bike patrols and other forward-facing efforts.”

editor@smdp.com