In the final community brief of 2020, a Pasadena police official described a city that might have existed in the Old West.
Certainly, he could not have been talking about Pasadena, once described by a former mayor as the Paris of the Pacific.
Pasadena, where captains of industry live in million-dollar homes; where sophisticated actors, authors, musicians, and celebrities come to live, play and perform; where Caltech, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Civic Auditorium, the Pasadena Playhouse, and some of the most admired architectural marvels of the previous century are located.
But they were talking about Pasadena, which, in short, was a very violent and bloody place in 2020, all due mainly to a dramatic rise in gun-related crime.
“As we begin the new year, the Police Department will continue to work towards reducing the level of violence and minimize the number of guns on the street while addressing the other issues facing our country,” wrote Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe.
According to Grisafe, in the previous year, police collected a total of 288 guns.
That was 62 more guns than were taken off the streets in 2019 — a 27% increase, he wrote.
Adding to the frustration, almost 11% of those firearms were un-serialized, or “ghost” guns, which cannot be easily traced.
But perhaps most frustrating for police, and frightening for the general public, Pasadena saw an 85% increase in gun violence crimes last year, Gisafe wrote.
Officers are doing their best to get these weapons off the streets and out of the hands of criminals. But they can’t do it alone, Grisafe said.
“It will definitely take the efforts of many in the community to achieve these reductions,” Grisafe wrote.