Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Santa Monica Experiences Increase in Crime Since the Expo Line Opened in May, 2016

SMPD Appears to shift from denial that crime has increased, to adding more officers


February 1, 2017

This man is committing three different Santa Monica crimes. Can you name them?

The statistics are undeniable. Since the Expo Line returned to Santa Monica, crime has increased. The SMPD appears to have shifted from denial that crime has increased, to adding more officers in congested areas near train stations.

2016 saw a 5.5 percent increase in crime in Santa Monica. This is also the year the train began operation, bringing riders from as far as downtown Los Angeles all the way to 4th Street and Colorado, near Santa Monica Place. The area including the train station, the Santa Monica Pier, and the Promenade, denoted by the police as "Beat 1" has seen the sharpest increase in crime. 40 percent of "Part 1" crimes, those involving violence and robbery, occurred in Beat 1.

Out of a total of 4,515 criminal incidents reported, almost 90 percent were property-related.

Police say that cars and bicycles are the major targets for robbers. When valuables are visibly left in cars they are temptations too great for criminals to resist.

The large number of people who stream through Santa Monica, including unwary tourists, could also contribute to the larger crime numbers. More people mean more targets. 8.3 million visitors came to Santa Monica in 2015. This has no doubt increased since that time and the train's arrival.

In response to the data collected, police are shifting their priorities to adjust. "We know we need to increase our policing patterns there," Lt. Saul Rodriguez said of Beat 1. "We're going to add additional officers out there. You're going to see them."


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