The City of West Hollywood ranks No. 4 in serious crimes reported in the first eight months of this year according to a comparison of data from the 65 areas served by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s 23 stations.
According to the data, which is part of the Sheriff’s Department’s quarterly report, West Hollywood experienced 347.43 Part I crimes per 10,000 residents. The unincorporated area of Paramount / Universal City, also served by the WeHo Sheriff’s Station, ranked No. 2 with 2,553.5 per 10,000 residents.
Calculating crimes as a percentage of residents can be somewhat misleading because of the large number of visitors to West Hollywood, a city popular because of its nightlife scene and major events such as L.A. Pride and Halloween Carnaval. That’s also true of Universal City, which is home to few people but has a popular theme park and the Universal CityWalk shopping and entertainment center.
However the percentage does reflect the degree of safety in West Hollywood, which the city traditionally describes as one of the safest places to life, work and play. The data does not distinguish between the number of crimes perpetrated by WeHo residents or on WeHo residents and those committed by or on visitors.
West Hollywood’s serious crime rate in the first eight months of this year is down 15.1% from 2012 and down 3.3% over that period in 2016 according to the L.A. Sheriff’s Department data.
West Hollywood’s highest rate of crime was in larceny / theft, which is defined as stealing someone else’s property and includes car break-ins, which are common in WeHo. West Hollywood ranked No. 4 in that category. The city had 235 incldents per 10,000 residents. Given that the city’s population is roughly 36,000 people, that would mean 846 actual incidents of larceny/theft.
The local Sheriff’s Station’s six-month report on crime in WeHo called out the problem with car break-ins, noting that this year vehicle burglaries were up 83% over the first six months of last year.
“Vehicle Burglary … was the only category with a significant increase, and the total number of incidents off-set solid reductions in all the other categories of Part 1 crime,” the report said.
“The Gateway area in the East District, Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue/Robertson Boulevard in the West District were hit especially hard. There were 227 vehicle burglaries citywide and 153 (67%) of those were window smashes.
“Smashing windows is the preferred method of entry for criminals to use when a vehicle is locked because breaking a window will not set off the alarm system. Almost without exception, window smash vehicle burglaries occur when property is clearly visible inside the vehicle. A crime suppression and community outreach plan has been developed to better address these issues, including more public outreach via Nixie and social media, increased foot patrols, and training more deputies for bike patrol. “
While WeHo ranked No. 4 in larceny/theft the City of Industry ranked No. 1. Industry, an industrial area with a population of roughly 200, had a rate of 16,147 incidents per 10,000 residents. That suggests most of those crimes were committed on people who come to Industry to work.
Another area where West Hollywood stood out (and where the rate likely is influenced by the city’s large number of visitors), is forcible rape, with 4.95 incidents per 10,000 residents. Areas with higher rates include Industry (173.16), Paramount / Universal City (28.53), Avalon (7.79) and the unincorporated area served by the Lomita Sheriff’s Station (4.97)
West Hollywood ranked No. 7 in robberies, with 22.08 incidents per 10,000 residents; No. 9 in burglaries, with 44.98 incidents per 10.000; No. 16 in aggravated assault, with 19.87 per 10,000, and No. 30 in grand theft, with 19.59 incidents per 10,000. The city had negligible rates of criminal homicide (0.28 per 10,000 residents) and arson (0.55 per 10,000 residents. Burglary is defined as entering a home or business without permission to steal something or commit a felony. Aggravated assault is defined as an action that is intended to hurt someone, and grand theft is theft of an item or items worth more than $950.