By Ted AYALA
Glendale continues to enjoy a slide in crime rates, announced Glendale Police Chief Ron de Pompa at Tuesday night’s Glendale City Council meeting.
Numbers presented by the GPD demonstrate a continuing downward shift in crimes. Violent crimes dropped by 10%; property crimes 12%. Overall, the crime rate dropped 12% in 2012.
“This is really good news for us,” said de Pompa. In previous years, the city dealt with a rash of crime sprees, including a persistent problem in the Crescenta Valley area in 2010 with thefts of goods from cars parked in public spaces.
“We were not anticipating finishing the year this well,” he said. “But we’re pleased to see these trends abated.”
The last spike in crime the city contended with was in 2008, which was aggravated by the immediate effects of the onset of the recession and, later, with early-prison release programs enacted to reduce the prison population and save tax revenue. Nevertheless, crime has been declining since then.
“Let me assure you that after talking to many other chiefs that the trend [in their cities] is going the opposite direction,” de Pompa said. “We’re very proud of our employees and the work they’ve done here.”
Comparing Glendale to some of the cities of the region of similar size, the city comes in second only to Irvine, despite Glendale Police needing to work with leaner numbers in order to save money.
“We’re significantly lower staffed, but we continue to enjoy a superior crime-rate ranking,” the chief said.
Nationally, Glendale also ranks favorably. The city enjoys a ranking of number 10 – out of 244 cities – in the top 10 cities of comparable size with the lowest crime rates.
When Councilmember Dave Weaver asked the chief whether it would be wise to cut police services further in light of the dwindling crime rates, de Pompa was assertive in his opposition to such ideas.
“I think it’s very important that we maintain this level of safety. Any changes to that would have significant consequences down the road.”
Still, de Pompa stressed that the city faces challenges with district realignment, prison population reduction and organized crime in the area.
But he noted that the Glendale Police enjoys a strong relationship with the citizens it protects, and that will be a tremendous aid to safety.
“We have a community here that truly cares,” he said. “It’s a good working relationship.”