Violent crime was down in Burbank for the first half of the year, police reported — a trend officials attributed to no longer having to transport prisoners to and from Glendale during reconstruction of their own jail facility.
Aggravated assaults, rapes and robberies, among other more serious offenses — known as Part 1 crimes — were down 9% from January to June when compared to the same period last year.
Through June, there were 1,336 Part 1 offenses reported, down from 1,466 last year and 1,524 in 2010, according to preliminary data released this week by police.
Police said the drop occurred, in part, because fewer resources were spent transporting arrestees to the Glendale jail while the Burbank own jail was being rebuilt due to shoddy initial construction.
Spot repairs began on the police headquarters building where the jail is housed in 2000 — two years after it was built — due to water damage.
The repairs eventually turned into extensive reconstruction and two phases of work completed earlier this year to the tune of nearly $10 million.
In late February, Burbank police were able to use their jail again, eliminating the need to drive to Glendale to book suspects at the jail facility there.
“Last year our jail was closed, so we had officers spending time transporting prisoners [to the Glendale Jail], so it took them away from patrol time,” Burbank police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said. “That, and we were down a couple of officers per shift.”
Round-trip travel time to the Glendale jail was estimated at 30 to 45 minutes. Since two officers are required for jail transport, this amounts to between 1,495 and 2,243 lost hours between April 1 and Oct. 1, 2011, according to police.
The drop in serious violent comes even as calls for service increased, Ryburn said.
Police data show that there were 22,224 calls for service through June, up from the 21,001 calls logged during the same period last year and the 21,078 calls in 2010.
With fewer officers handling calls for service and spending time transporting prisoners, there was less officer-initiated activity in 2011, Ryburn said.
Prior to the jail closing in 2010, officers initiated contact with those suspected of committing crimes 17,340 times, Ryburn said. That number dipped to 13,223 in 2011, but has since increased to 15,713 through June of this year, documents show.
With the jail opening and freeing up personnel — and with more officers going through training and going out on their own — “It lets officers patrol the streets,” Ryburn said.
At the same time, non-violent offenses — including fraud, marijuana possession, driving under the influence and other crimes — increased during the same period.
There were 2,391 of the so-called Part 2 offenses reported through June of this year, up from 2,137 for the same period last year. However, the 2012 figure was less than the 2,808 reported from January to June 2010.
Interim Police Chief Scott LaChasse said in a statement that many departments were responsible for the crime reduction, and credited, among others, the patrol force, detectives and volunteers, whose work freed up sworn personnel to concentrate on field and follow-up work.
LaChasse also acknowledged parking-control officers, forensic specialists and jailers, as well as the community for being good “eyes and ears” by immediately reporting suspicious activity.
Burbank’s numbers came against the backdrop of worsening trends at the county level.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported increases in violent crime in the areas they patrol.
As of the end of June 2012, preliminary reported crime data shows that reported overall incidents of violent crimes increased 4.66%, and serious property crimes increased by 6.33% in the areas patrolled by sheriff’s deputies, according to the agency’s recent report. The numbers combine to show a 6.02 percent increase in overall Part I crimes.