VAN NUYS (CBS) — A sharp increase in the number of auto and residential burglaries in the San Fernando Valley may be the result of a controversial early-release program for prison inmates, police said Friday.
KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports the trend was first spotted shortly after New Year’s Day.
Burglaries in Encino, Toluca Lake, Van Nuys, Reseda and Tarzana are up 26 percent since Jan. 1., where about 30 cars a week are getting broken into compared with a normal average of about 20.
In the Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks area, car break-ins have jumped to as high as three times the normal rate.
LAPD Captain Paul Snell with the Van Nuys Division said while there is still no statistical evidence linking the increased number of parolees to the recent rise in crime, he said many of the crooks they have busted fit that category.
“We’re seeing a number of repeat offenders that are causing an increase, particularly in Van Nuys,” Snell said.
The remarks come on the heels of recent comments from Mayor John Solis of La Puente linking the state prison realignment plan with an uptick in violent crime in his city, where sexual assaults and assaults with guns and knives jumped as high as 300 percent.
Police have responded by assigning a special unit that focuses specifically on parolees along with a property crimes detail to maximize the department’s resources.
“What we do, we move the officers or our resources around to target specific problems so that when there are spikes they’re not long-term spikes,” said Snell.
Despite the trouble spots, property crime has dropped by 8 percent and violent crime is down throughout the San Fernando Valley, while the number of burglary arrests is up 45 per cent over the past three weeks.