Incidents of serious crime in West Hollywood increased only 1.5 percent in last month over July 2014, according to figures presented last night to the city’s Public Safety Commission.
A report from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station showed there were 139 “Part 1” crimes last month, defined as those against people and property such as car break-ins, assaults, rape, robbery and arson.
The largest increase — 50 percent — was in vehicle burglaries, which grew from 16 in July 2014 to 24 last month. That was followed by a 32 percent increase in incidents of petty theft (theft of property with a value of $950 or less), which grew from 44 incidents in July 2014 to 58 incidents last month. Petty theft accounted for 39 percent of all Part 1 crimes in July. One factor in the increase in petty theft numbers might be the passage in November of Proposition 47, which redefined some property and drug crimes as misdemeanors rather than felonies. Drug crimes aren’t included in the Part 1 crime report.
Incidents of grand theft (theft of property with a value of $950 or more) declined 21 percent, from 28 in July 2014 to 21 last month. Other major declines were in aggravated assault (from 13 to 10 incidents), grand theft auto (from 10 to four incidents) and arson (from six to zero incidents).
The city’s Eastside showed the biggest increase in Part 1 crimes (46 percent from July 2014 compared to July 2015) The report also showed that more crimes were reported on the Eastside (57 instances) than on the Westside (49 instances) and in the Center City (33 instances). A major issue on the Eastside has been the presence of homeless people, while the Westside’s issue are connected with nightlife on Santa Monica Boulevard and the Sunset Strip. Major increases and decreases in crime by area are:
A major reason more crimes were reported on the Eastside than elsewhere in WeHo is petty thefts. The Eastside was the location ofr 59 percent of petty thefts reported in West Hollywood in July, with 34 incidents. That represents an 89 percent increase over petty thefts in the area in July 2014. Vehicle burglaries were the second most common Eastside crime, with 10 incidents, an increase of 150 percent over the four in July last year. Aggravated assaults increased 200 percent, from two in July 2014 to six last month. Lt. David Smith of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station told the Public Safety Commission that the station has increased its foot patrols from one night to two nights on the Eastside. Each foot patrol consists of two officers, although Smith acknowledged that it isn’t always possible for the station to find officers willing to work overtime to staff the patrols.
The Westside saw a 20 percent decrease in crime last month compared to July 2014. Petty thefts accounted for the largest number of crimes on the city’s Westside (16 incidents) last month, equal to the 16 incidents in July 2014. Grand thefts were down slightly from the 15 incidents in July 2014 to 14 last month.
Major decreases were in grand theft, with three incidents in July compared to six last year, and grand theft from automobiles, which declined from three last year to one last month. Grand theft is defined as the theft of property worth more than $950. There was one armed robbery last month compared to two in July 2014. Aggravated assaults dropped to four last month compared to six in July 2014.
The Center City area saw an 11 percent decrease in crime last month. The largest increase was in vehicle burglaries, which totaled 10 last month compared to five in July 2014. The largest decrease was in grand theft, which dropped from seven incidents in July 2014 to four this July. There were no aggravated assaults last month, while five were reported in July last year.
Sgt. Smith said there were three incidents of rape reported last month. One was a sexual encounter involving three men who met on Grindr, the gay hookup app, for consensual sex. Smith said one of the men drank water during the encounter and felt strange and later felt that he had been violated. Another incident occurred when a man penetrated a woman on a bench in West Hollywood park with his finger. And a third occurred at Rock N Reilly, the Sunset Boulevard club, when a man and a woman drinking together went into the rest room together and had sex. Smith said the man said the act was consensual while the woman said it occurred against her will.