Is Crime Up or Down in WeHo? The Answer is Both!

wehoville 201608 crimeThe answer is both, according to a new analysis by WeHo by the Numbers that takes into account both the crime rate and the seriousness of the crimes. The analysis concludes that crime rose in the past year but was still lower than it was five years earlier.

weho by the numbers
David Warren

The analysis starts with the crime rate, which is the number of reported Part 1 crimes divided by the city’s population. Part 1 crimes include homicide, rape, aggravated assault, armed robbery, strong-arm robbery, residential burglary, commercial burglary, grand theft, vehicle burglary, petty theft, grand theft auto and arson.

The crime rate increased 8% in the just-finished fiscal year (July 2015 to June 2016) versus the prior year. Despite that increase, the crime rate was still 9% lower than it had been five years earlier. That fall in the crime rate came from a 5% cut in the number of crimes and a 4% increase in the city’s population.

The analysis then tests whether the seriousness of reported crimes has changed over time. For example, even with a flat crime rate, crime would be less serious if there more petty thefts but fewer armed robberies.

The challenge is quantifying seriousness. It requires value judgments about how much worse one crime is than another. The analysis uses the length of a potential prison sentence for each crime as a proxy for its seriousness. More about that part of the analysis can be found in the WeHo by the Numbers report If we adjust for the seriousness of crimes, is crime up or down in West Hollywood?

The results show that the seriousness of crime was virtually unchanged in the last year. Compared to five years ago, it dropped 13%.

The crime rate and seriousness numbers are then combined into one measure of the overall “severity” of crime in West Hollywood. According to that measure, crime was up 6% in the last year but down 20% over a five-year period (FY2011 to FY2016).

So one could accurately say that “crime is up” or that “crime is down” depending on the timeframe one chooses for the comparison.

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Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 years ago

Thanks David for your balanced analysis of the crime stats. Often the discussion of crime in our City, even at Council level, tends to be simplistic, when in fact the issues we face are often nuanced and need tailored responses. Unfortunately debates often get sidetracked and discussions seem more about whether folks support the Sheriff and those who are skeptical of their performance. As Chris states, no urban area is safe and we face issues particular to West Hollywood. But knowledge of the trends is the best way to formulate flexible responses to crime.

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
3 years ago

There are lies, then damned lies, then statistics. Thx to Hank for bringing reason to this discussion and countering the hysterics the anti-Weho posters exhibit. No urban area is completely safe. WeHo for residents and visitors is safer than most, particularly considering its density and the high number of nightspots.

Alison
Alison
3 years ago

In other words, you can make numbers say whatever you want them to say.

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