By Katta Hules
Though it might not seem like it with the recent burglaries, crime is down in Arcadia. Police Chief Robert Guthrie reported at the last city council meeting that although this year is up overall, there has been a recent decrease in crime, “Within the city, this summer has been a very, very safe one for us, as compared to this time last year.”
Though 2016 still has 14 percent more crime overall than last year, this is down from being 30 to 32 percent above at the beginning of the year, according to Guthrie’s report. This most recent quarter (May 1 to July 31) has seen a reduction of 10.5 percent to 11 percent in residential burglaries compared to the same time period last year. “If you live north of the 210 in the last eight to 10 weeks, it’s been one of the safest areas, the safest times we’ve had, probably, in the last two to three years.”
However, the chief knows that when crime hits close to home, statistics are a cold comfort. “Whenever you’re a victim of a burglary … especially one that is so personal as having your house burglarized … it doesn’t matter if we’re down 30 percent, you’re the victim of that burglary and we certainly empathize and understand that.”
Despite the recent spate of burglaries in north Arcadia Guthrie said the police department doesn’t see a trend suggesting a group or individual working the area. “Unfortunately, crime can never be at zero and so when you come off of a high tide like we have lately in the last year and a half or so, you get burglarized, you automatically, I think, refer back to what you heard before, which is we have a problem up in the north end and the truth is in the last three months we’ve actually had a very good run in that area overall.”
City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto says the police department has been working hard to bring down crime, being proactive with patrolling and using technology to track and identify crime patterns. “Some of this has come with extra overtime hours to keep more officers on the streets when crime has spiked. We have arrested many suspects over [the] course of the year, which helps not only in getting bad people off the streets, but also sends a message to others that Arcadia is tough on crime.”
However, he warns that this decrease in incidents is not something that can be counted on. “Crime does have its natural cycles. Just as we can’t get overly excited by crime spiking (as it did around this time last year), we also have to expect that crime rates are likely to increase again when they are lower than normal.”
Lazzaretto says the city has also been increasing public outreach through the Neighborhood Watch program, public meetings and workshops on crime and prevention. The city aims to help instruct residents on how to spot suspicious activity and common sense measures to keep their homes safe. Neighborhood Watch groups meet to discuss localized problems and propose solutions. The police supply them with crime information and instruct them in crime prevention methods.
The Neighborhood Watch’s current program, “See Something, Say Something,” urges residents not wait until a crime happens to report suspicious activities in their neighborhoods. It also encourages residents to get to know their neighbors and the patterns of the neighborhood. “The police and the public have to remain vigilant in order to keep crime as low as possible in the City,” Lazzaretto says.
Arcadia Police Central Area Commander Lieutenant Colleen Flores agrees, quoting the “See Something Say Something” site and urging residents “if you see unusual activity in your neighborhood, don’t wait to alert law enforcement, pick up the phone and call the Arcadia Police Department (APD).” The best way to help deter crime is to call, she says, and “alert police to anything that may look suspicious.”
Additionally, “Arcadia Police has a very active social media program,” Flores says, suggesting residents can engage with the police department and stay informed through some of its many online platforms. These platforms include Facebook, Twitter, the Arcadia PD Blog, the virtual neighborhood watch site Nextdoor, the text message and email service Nixle, and the APD app which can be found on the department’s Facebook page. Residents can also track local incidents online. Learn more about the Neighborhood Watch. The Arcadia police department can be reached by phone at (626) 574-5123 or 911 for emergencies.