Short answer: The number of violent crimes declined 8% to the second-lowest level in the city’s 33-year history, while the number of property crimes rose 5%, eking out a 19-year high


In an earlier report, we looked at crime trends midway through 2017. Now we have data for the whole year. We’ll focus on eight types of violent and property crime: homicide, rape, robbery (armed and strong-arm), aggravated assault, burglary (residential and commercial), motor vehicle theft (grand theft auto), theft (grand theft, petty theft, and vehicle burglary), and arson. They’re called “Part 1” crimes in the FBI’s crime reporting system.

Total number of crimes

The total number of Part 1 violent and property crimes increased 3% in 2017, after rising 11% in 2016. There were about 1,950 Part 1 crimes in 2017.

The 2017 total was 60% below the level during the early years after the city’s incorporation. Crime started falling sharply in 1996, reaching a new normal at the turn of the century. The total number has stayed roughly between 1,600 and 2,000 since then. The 2017 value is toward the higher end of the range.

Note: For 2017, we combined the semi-annual January to June statistics with the monthly numbers for July through December. Based on past experience, the July to December numbers may change a bit (but not a lot) when the next semi-annual report comes out. Sources: California Department of Justice (through 2016); City of West Hollywood, monthly and semi-annual public safety reports (for 2017); our analysis.

Violent crime

The 2017 total hides an 8% year-over-year drop in violent crime. (It was more than offset in the total by an increase in property crime.) The violent crime decline came mainly from fewer aggravated assaults.

About 250 violent crimes were reported in 2017. That’s five a week. Roughly speaking, there were two robberies and two aggravated assaults per week, two rapes per month, and one homicide during the year.

It was the second-lowest level of violent crime since the city’s incorporation in 1984. (The lowest level was in 2013 and it was 15% lower.) The 2017 number was half what it was in the city’s first years and a quarter of the peak in 1991. It was a third below the count from 2010, the highest year in the past decade.

Sources: Same as above.

We have comparable numbers for Culver City and Los Angeles. Culver City experienced a 12% decline in violent crime in the first 11 months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. The drop was mainly due to fewer aggravated assaults.

In contrast, violent crime grew 4% in Los Angeles in the first 50 weeks of 2017. The increase was driven by robbery and aggravated assault. Homicide and rape fell 6% and 11%, respectively.

Sources: California Department of Justice; City of West Hollywood; Los Angeles Police Department, “COMPSTAT Citywide Profile 11/19/17 – 12/16/17,” Culver City monthly crime reports for November 2016 and 2017; our analysis.

Property crime

West Hollywood property crime grew by 5% in 2017. The increase was almost entirely due to a jump in vehicle burglaries (stealing items from cars). The jump overwhelmed decreases in stolen cars and petty theft.

There were almost 1,700 reported property crimes in 2017. That’s close to five per day. Roughly speaking, there were four thefts (including vehicle burglaries) per day, four burglaries and two stolen cars per week, and two arsons for the year.

The number of property crimes was the highest it had been in almost 20 years, though not by much. The chart below shows that half of the intervening years had more than 1,600 property crimes.

However, the 2017 number stands out because it came just three years after the all-time low was reached in 2014. To get from roughly 1,350 to 1,700, the number of property crimes had to grow 25% in three years.

Sources: Same as above.

West Hollywood’s 5% increase was bigger than Los Angeles’ 1% uptick in property crimes. Los Angeles’ increase was driven by modest growth in burglaries and vehicle burglaries.

In Culver City, property crimes were down 10% through November. There were big drops in burglary and grand theft auto, after they spiked in 2016.

Sources: Same as above.

Falling crimes

Not all property crimes went up and not all violent crimes went down. The chart below shows the crimes that fell and how they compared to their respective 10-year averages.

Arson (-78%), grand theft auto (-29%), aggravated assault (-20%), and residential burglary (-11%) declined in 2017 AND wound up below their averages. Aggravated assault, for example, fell 20%, bringing the number down to about 40% below average. On the other hand, the number of petty thefts fell 12%, but was still about 20% above the 10-year average.

Note: Excludes homicide, which went from two in 2016 to one in 2017. Sources: Same as above.

Rising crimes

Three crimes both increased in 2017 and ended above their multi-year averages. They were vehicle burglary, rape, and strong-arm robbery.

Note: The multi-year period is 10 years, with one exception. We used two years of data for rape, because the pre-2015 numbers weren’t comparable. Starting in 2015, the sheriff changed which crimes were reported in this category (per the FBI). Sources: Same as above.

The number of vehicle burglaries spiked in 2017 to almost 500. There were over 70% more than the prior year and over 70% more than the 10-year average.

Sources: Same as above.

We have very limited historical data on the number of rapes, because of a reporting change that took effect in 2015. We know the number rose from 19 in 2015 to 26 in 2016 and, based on preliminary data, to 29 in 2017. The number seems to be increasing. The monthly data in the chart below gives the same visual impression.

Sources: Same as above. WarrenPerformance (effectiveness)Public safetycrime,culver city,los angeles
Short answer: The number of violent crimes declined 8% to the second-lowest level in the city's 33-year history, while the number of property crimes rose 5%, eking out a 19-year high| In an