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FBI report:

Violent crimes up

Most surprising for local sergeant was increase in assaults with deadly weapons.

December 23, 2009|By Veronica Rocha

DOWNTOWN — The violent crime rate in Burbank edged up in the first half of 2009, according to preliminary FBI figures released today.

The number of violent crimes, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults, increased from 120 for the first six months of 2008 to 129 for the same period this year, according to the FBI’s semiannual crime report.

The figure ran counter to the a 4.4% decline in the national violent crime rate. In neighboring Glendale, the number of violent crimes decreased from 180 for the first six-month period of 2008 to 147 for the same period this year, according to the FBI.

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But the property-crime rate, which includes burglary, larceny and theft, declined from 1,406 in first half of 2008 to 1,310 this year between January and June.

“The property crimes is really a hit and miss with us,” Burbank Police Sgt. Robert Quesada said.

But most surprising for Quesada was the number of assaults with deadly weapons that have occurred in Burbank in the past year.

He attributed the increase to violent TV shows, movies and video games.

Burbank saw a 17% increase in assaults with a deadly weapon from November 2008 to the same month this year, Quesada said.

“People are just resorting to violence with weapons,” he said.

That trend has been seen in recent random acts of violence, including a thief who pepper-sprayed a woman and stole her purse, Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.

Police have been closely monitoring those crimes because an increase in that category could start to push up violent- and property-crime rates, De Pompa said.

Agencies will also have to contend with the early release of prisoners next year, brought on by state budget woes.


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