LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Officials in Long Beach are reporting a record low in many crime statistics and residents are taking note.
As KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen reports many couldn’t help but notice.
Long Beach resident Geovany Casillas says he’s noticed significant improvements in the city this past year – especially when he went out at night.
“Before it was a lot of gangs and territory and fight for their land. But now, overall, it’s gotten way better,” says Casillas.
The statistics bear this out, say authorities.
Some preliminary crime numbers for 2013 are at record lows.
Violent crimes dropped by more than 13 percent between 2012 and 2013. That’s the lowest in 41 years.
Police Chief Jim McConnell says that statistic is significant because his department often faced criminals armed with high powered guns.
“This is an example of the type of fire power and the level of violence that our officers are being confronted with on a regular basis,” McConnell said, showing an assault-type weapon.
The news regarding crime wasn’t all good news.
Murders spiked by nearly 7 percent during the same period.
Officer-involved shootings also rose. In 2013 – there were 22 total — that figure also represents the highest total of OIS since 2008. (Four were accidental and three were against animals.)
In November, our cameras captured an OIS involving a woman with a history of mental problems.
The chief says every shooting is investigated and the public shouldn’t rush to judgment.
“The officers are out there and putting themselves against a threat and in many cases a deadly threat,” said McConnell.
Even when officers don’t use force – residents like Casillas told Nguyen there is still a perception problem.
“I do get nervous. Last time I got stopped by a cop, I was shaking and I was like I don’t even know why I was shaking,” said Casillas.