Serious crime drops in Norwalk

NORWALK - Overall crime in Norwalk dropped by double digits in 2013, a trend that has been ongoing the last five years, according to statistics released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department this month.

The preliminary data, categorized by city and station, shows significant declines in Part 1 crimes in Norwalk, including reported homicides, robberies, burglaries, and larceny theft.

"We ended 2013 on such a high note," said Captain Curtis Jensen of the Norwalk Sherriff's Station, which serves the communities of Norwalk, La Mirada, and unincorporated Whittier. "The station saw a 9% drop in crime from a year prior. If you're talking about the city of Norwalk, it was even better. There was almost a 13% reduction in Part 1 crimes."

Norwalk recorded four homicides in 2013, a sharp decline from 13 the year before. Jensen maintained that only two of the murders were gang-related shootings.

Reported robberies, which include shoplifting from stores like Target and Walmart, fell 11.79% last year, down from 170 to 150. Norwalk burglaries also decreased by nearly 20% in comparison to La Mirada and unincorporated Whittier, which both experienced slight increases in 2013.

"We can't do what we do without the support of the people. In July when I got here, we were at a zero percent reduction in crime," Jensen said. "But we saw that go up to 8% and now our station is in the top one-fifth of highest reduction in crime for 2013."

LA County Sheriff's stations in East Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Carson, and Pico Rivera saw crime drop as much as 16% in 2013.

Norwalk did see a slight increase in rapes, which rose by 14% with two more reported in 2013 than the year before.

Grand theft auto also rose nearly 5% as 26 more vehicles were stolen in 2013 than 2012. Jensen admitted that the problem was widespread, but explained that the cars -- mostly 1990s Honda models -- were being stolen for mainly transportation purposes and often recovered.

In La Mirada and unincorporated Whittier, aggravated assaults and homicides also experienced double-digit declines, but similar to Norwalk, rape and car theft rose slightly.

According to department statistics, unincorporated Whittier's crime rate decreased by 7.41% in 2013 while La Mirada saw a modest increase of 3.74%. Overall, Jensen said the Norwalk Station saw an 8.8% decline in Part 1 crime last year and an 8.6% drop over the last five years.

"Violent crimes are down in general and department-wide there was a 3.12% reduction in Part 1 crimes last year," Jensen said. "We saw a steady downward trend [in Norwalk] the last two quarters of 2013 -- everything came down and I'm more than pleased."

********** Published: Jan. 16, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 40