Police Chief Perez Praised for Lower Crime Numbers by Public Safety Committee

Recent report showed 15% decrease in crime as compared to same time last year

Published : Thursday, May 17, 2018 | 5:24 AM

Public Safety Committee Chair Vice Mayor John Kennedy, City Manager Steve Mermell and Pasadena Chief of Police John Perez at a recent Committee meeting.

Public Safety Committee Chair Vice Mayor John Kennedy, City Manager Steve Mermell and Pasadena Chief of Police John Perez at a recent Committee meeting.

Interim Police Chief John Perez had plenty of good news for the Public Safety Committee Wednesday. His monthly report, based on preliminary statistics released by the Pasadena Police Department, showed a 15% drop in crime reported this year as compared to the same time last year.

Perez also told the Committee that the department hoped to wrap up its own investigation into the controversial J.R. Thomas case by the end of June. Thomas died while in police custody on September 30, 2016. His partner Shainie Lindsey settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the City in April for $1.5 million.

Meanwhile, the police crime report based on April calls for service showed a 75% drop in homicides, a 47% drop in robberies, and a 37% drop in residential burglaries in year-to-date totals, when compared to the same period in 2017.

In addition, the number of stolen vehicles dropped by 35%, and the number assaults dropped by 27%.

Chief Perez also said, “This has been a quieter year,” with only one gunshot victim reported so far.

According to the Chief’s report, police have seized 109 weapons and arrested six burglary suspects so far this year. Police also seized two stolen handguns in one week during traffic stops in early May. The suspects were arrested without incident, said Perez.

Only two crime categories saw increases, according to the report. Calls to police to report rapes climbed by 60% after a two-year lull, and simple theft rose slightly, by 2%.

Perez also told the Committee that he will re-initiate bike patrols, gradually increasing their number by mid-summer. In addition, he will place more officers in community centers, he said.

The year-to-date figures are collected by the Pasadena Police Department Records section. They are based almost entirely on 911 calls, and thus cannot be directly correlated with FBI Uniform Crime Reporting crime statistics.

According to the monthly statistical report, the Council District with the most calls for service was Councilmember Steve Madison’s District 6, with 59 calls for service. Councilmember Victor Gordo’s District 5 recorded the fewest calls to the police for service, just 27 during April.

Perez was generally praised by members of the Public Safety Committee. Councilmember Tyron Hampton asked for a deeper investigation into the case of Vasken Gourdikian, who was indicted in January for federal gun sales violations.

Hampton, while acknowledging that the events took place under former Police Chief Phillip Sanchez, took issue with the fact that Gourdikian earned more than $100,000 in salary “for just sitting around at home,” while on paid leave during the investigation.

Committee Chair Vice Mayor John Kennedy suggested a meeting between the Councilmember, the City Attorney, and Chief Perez to further discuss the issue.

Chief Perez also told the Committee that he expects his first Chief’s Community Advisory Council meeting to take place in June.

“We look forward to input from the community there,” he said.

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