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Crimes in South Pasadena Decrease in 2010

The South Pasadena Police Department reports a 14.5 percent decrease in part one crimes, a category which includes homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, arson and auto theft.

Crimes in South Pasadena decreased 14.5 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to a recent report from the South Pasadena Police Department. Police identified the majority of the crimes, over 90 percent, as property crimes. 

The police department counted a total of 464 Part One crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, arson and auto theft. Of these crimes, police identified 423 as property crimes and the remaining 41 were crimes against people. 

According to South Pasadena Police Chief Joseph Payne, the arrest of repeat offenders can significantly reduce certain types of crimes, especially property crimes such as auto thefts and residential burglaries.

"The officers have been working particularly hard in targeting specific problems," Payne said. "They are constantly contacting suspicious persons and conducting more thorough investigations," he added.

South Pasadena's crime clearance rate, the rate at which a crime is solved, doubled last year, making the city's overall clearance rate 21 percent in 2010. "This is due to better investigations done by patrol officers and detectives," Payne said. "When they follow up as far as they can, we have higher arrest rates," he added, and noted the importance of officers to collect evidence at the scene of the crime.

Aftermath of the Arroyo Sexual Assault

After the  by a 19-year-old male in the Arroyo Seco in January, some residents worried about the safety of the area, particularly for lone women joggers. 

According to Corporal Ronnie of the South Pasadena Police Department, police officers periodically check the Arroyo. He estimated that officers patrol the area once every other week. While homeless people have resided in the area and sometimes set up encampments, Corporal Ronnie said they are not causing criminal behavior. 

Police will send the homeless to other areas, including the YMCA in Pasadena or shelters in Los Angeles, but often times they return to South Pasadena since they find it a safer community for them, Corporal Ronnie said.

Chief Payne said while police enforce trespassing laws, they do not see homeless people committing crimes, and in fact, more crimes are committed against homeless people. "They are victims of crime, rather than perpetrators," he said. 

Police officials said the January sexual assault was the first time in recent memory a stranger had attacked someone on a trail in the Arroyo. The suspect in that assault was not homeless.

Both Corporal Ronnie and Chief Payne encouraged taking precautions when walking or jogging in the Arroyo. "Carry a cell phone and pepper spray. These are easy to carry," Payne said.

"Tell someone where you're going and try to stay in a visible location," Corporal Ronnie said. "Know your surroundings," he added, and noted that suspects are less likely to attack if a potential victim appears to know the area and looks up instead of keeping their head down to the ground.

Traffic Offenses

According to the report, traffic accidents increased in 2010, and the city saw a 41 percent increase in hit and run accidents. Police linked this rise to "a increase in unlicensed drivers...and delinquent auto registration." 

Payne also said that increased traffic along major thoroughfares leads to accidents. "Gridlock is a big problem," he said, particularly along main streets in town such as  (which is currently undergoing a road construction project), Fremont, Garfield, Marengo and Huntington. 

He said the South Pasadena Police Department has scheduled a saturation patrol the morning of March 2nd, when motor officers will spend half a day in high-traffic areas looking for traffic offenders. 

Targeting Property Crime

"Our officers are going to be very aggressive in patrolling and paying special attention to residential neighborhoods where property crimes are happening," Payne said. Most property crimes occur in apartment dwellings, close to freeways and city borders, he said. In South Pasadena, police have reported more of these crimes in the northeast of the city.

Overall, though, "South Pasadena is among the safest communities in the San Gabriel Valley," Payne said. "South Pas has a reputation for safety."

Ron Rosen February 27, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Great that crime is down. Great that South Pasadena is safe. Makes you wonder why Councilman (now Mayor) Mike Ten chose to show this video at a City Council meeting soon after the Council proceeded with its plan to oust Police Chief Watson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEFxpfJQnZA Could he be out of touch?
Mike Ten February 27, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Ron South Pasadena like almost all communities nationwide have seen crime stats decrease in 2010, I believe the efforts and skill SPPD frontline officers help keep South Pasadena a unique community to live and raise a family, just as those officers protect some of the other communities in Southern California at a greater risk than ever before. You keep referring to the video I showed to the public in the spring last year highlighting at the time of "trend" of a noticed increase in violence against front line police officers nationwide. Just as today, then you accused me of promoting misinformation to support the issues regarding our search for the next police chief. I was pointing out a trend that I and others had seen on the horizon in the spring of 2010. Well now that the 2010 stats are in across the nation, well that trend proved to be actual fact. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-12-28-policedeaths28_ST_N.htm http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/28/police-deaths-2010_n_801901.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/28/police-deaths-2010_n_801901.html So who's out of touch?? not me.
Joseph Payne February 27, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Ron, These are the facts: Crime is down, in South Pasadena and elsewhere because of the fine work of men and women in law enforcement. Police Officer deaths are are way up because criminals are much more desperate and willing kill a police officer to prey on the innocent. I suggest you attend the funeral of at least one police officer or firefighter who gave his or her life in the line of duty while protecting the public before you choose to politicize the work that we do. Joseph Payne
Ron Rosen February 27, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Joe: I respect the work that police officers do. I watched the funeral of Randy Simmons and I shed many tears. Mike Ten's showing that video politicized the work that you do. Why would a city councilman show a video like that? I'm not going to go into the detail, but it was about politics and money. Unfortunately, it was the city council who politicized the work that you do beginning in the late 2009. There's a lot more I could say about that, but I won't.
Ron Rosen February 27, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Mike: I never accused you of promoting misinformation. I have no doubt those trends are correct. I accused you of demagoguery and scare tactics for political purposes. In his Star News column on February 2, 2010, shortly before you showed that video, Larry Wilson called attention to the law firm of Lackie, Dammeier & McGill. Its website, which I believe has been since toned down, advised police unions to, according to Wilson, "guilt trip the electeds, give money to their campaigns, use crime as a wedge issue in order to scare the public." Seems like that's what you were doing. By the way, don't go attacking Larry Wilson. At the time, I looked at Lackie, Dammeirer & McGill website myself, and shockingly, it advised just that. Larry Wilson got a few other things right back then too.

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