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FBI data show drop in thefts

But reports of lesser crimes including aggravated assault and drunkeness rose, report shows.

October 17, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

DOWNTOWN — An overall reduction in major crimes drove calls for service at the Burbank Police Department in September down 659 from the previous month, bringing the year-to-date total down 4% to roughly 60,000, according to figures released Wednesday.

Officers responded to two reported rapes, eight robberies, 14 aggravated assaults, 13 auto thefts and 31 burglaries in September, according to the department’s FBI uniform crime report released Wednesday to the Police Commission.

Despite the doubling of rape calls compared with the previous month, the risk to public safety has not increased because in both cases the victims were known to their assailants, Lt. Armen Dermenjian said.


Robberies were down six, burglaries 12 and auto thefts 16 from the previous month. Members of the police command staff attributed a 40% reduction in auto thefts for the year, from 381 to 228, to heightened police activity.

That action led to the recent arrest of a 27-year-old man police have now tied to at least six robberies across the city, including several liquor stores and at least one gas station, Dermenjian said.

Officers were in the area investigating a suspicious vehicle, Sgt. Robert Quesada said.

The number of aggravated assaults increased by three, bringing the year’s total so far to 120, according to the figures. Among lesser charges, sex offenses, drunkenness and disorderly conduct reports were up while embezzlement, vandalism and weapons reports were down from the previous month.

Capt. Janice Lowers said there was a 24% drop in the number of drunk driving arrests compared with last year. About 75% of those arrested last month for DUI suspicion were nabbed before they could harm anyone, she added.

“That’s really important to us that we’re catching them before they’re involved in accidents,” Lowers said.

Officers this week stressed the importance of swift arrival times, not just as to make arrests but to act as an important deterrent.

The average time it took officers to respond to life-threatening or violent felonies was 2 minutes, 36 seconds; 4 minutes, 51 seconds for felonies in progress; and 3 minutes, 50 seconds for recent felonies, a department report shows.

Average response time for all nine crime categories was 16 minutes, 19 seconds. The times were better than most police departments in the region, officials said.

But one commissioner, citing the strategic shift from two- to one-officer cars, said she worried that the price of arriving on scene so quickly could be impacting the spirits of the rank-and-file.

“That decision seems to have made morale lower,” Elise Stearns-Niesen said. “Especially on the patrol level.”

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