What are the crime trends in West Hollywood midway through 2017?
Number of reported violent and property crimes
About 880 violent and property crimes were reported in West Hollywood in the first half of 2017. The chart below shows the monthly counts for each kind of crime. It goes back three years, because that’s all the monthly data we have. We’ve added a rolling 12-month average in red to highlight the trend. You can select which crime is displayed by picking one from the drop-down menu.
Looking at the red lines, we’d say vehicle burglary and rape are increasing, aggravated assault is declining, and robbery and grand theft auto are starting to reverse their rise.
Trends in the last six months
The number of violent and property crimes in the first half of 2017 (about 880) was 7% lower than the 950 crimes in the prior six months. Grand theft auto, petty theft, and strong-arm robbery all fell roughly 30%. Aggravated assaults were down 15%. There were increases in vehicle burglary (37%), other non-residential burglary (26%), and rape (17% or two more reported crimes than the prior period).
Trends in the last three years
The chart below shows the change in the number of crimes over a three-year period from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2017. It’s roughly the period shown in the chart at the top of the report. Burglary, aggravated assault, and arson declined. Other kinds of crime increased between 16% and 54% over the period. There was one additional homicide, technically a 100% increase. We didn’t calculate the increase for rape, for reasons that are explained below.
The total number of violent and property crimes increased 17%. At the same time, the city’s population grew a little and the seriousness of the average crime declined. If we use an adjusted crime rate that takes those factors into account, then the level of crime rose 10% in three years.
Trend in rape and sex-related felonies
The FBI changed the definition of rape for reporting purposes in 2014, counting more sex-related crimes as rape. The Sheriff started tabulating West Hollywood’s numbers that way in 2015. Due to that change, we can’t directly compare recent data to pre-2015 numbers. It makes it harder to detect the real trend.
Nevertheless, the available data suggests an upward trend in the number of rapes and sex-related felonies. In the first six months after the definition changed, there were six reported rapes. Since then, there have been 12 to 14 every six months.
The combined number of reported rapes and sex-related felonies went from nine in the first half of 2014 to 26 in the second half of 2016.
Trends in the last three decades
The current number of violent and property crimes is about a third of what it was when the city was incorporated. The big drop happened in the 1990s. The lowest point was reached in 2014.
Since then, the number has started to increase again. It rose 5% in 2015 and 11% in 2016. However, the numbers from the first half of 2017 show a small decline. That suggests the upward trend has been arrested, at least for now.
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