Reports of car burglaries, vehicle thefts, and sexual assaults have shown significant increases in Pasadena this year, while incidents of home burglaries and robberies have declined, according to statistics released by police on Thursday.
Much of this year’s crime trends appear to have been shaped, in part, by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe.
Residential burglaries this year have declined by 17 percent, as of the end of August, compared with 2019, which went from 209 to 174 reported incidents, according to the data. Grisafe attributed the decrease to the fact that people are staying home much more of the time.
But at the same time, auto thefts and car burglaries have surged, “likely because of COVID as well,” Grisafe said. People are not using their vehicles as much, he said.
Reports of stolen vehicles shot up 49 percent this year, from 149 to 222, according to the statistics. Burglaries of cars rose by 35 percent.
Grisafe urged the public to avoid leaving items in unattended cars, decreasing the likelihood of being the target of a crime of opportunity.
“If something is left in the car, thieves will take the opportunity to steal it,” he said. “Even something as simple as sunglasses.”
He added that thieves take notice when vehicles sit parked for long periods of time and may target them as easy prey for burglary or theft.
Domestic violence reports were down by 14 percent, but officials worried that might not reflect what’s actually happening behind closed doors amid stay-at-home orders.
“There’s a concern that they are not getting reported,” Grisafe said.
Reports of rape nearly doubled from 17 in 2019 to 32 this year, the data shows.
Grisafe said a reason was not clear, especially considering the recent closure of bars and nightclubs, which often play a role in sexual assaults.
But he pointed out that the figures are based on reports of crimes, not their outcomes. At least several of the reported rapes were ultimately determined to be unfounded reports made by people suffering from mental health issues.
Commercial burglaries were up 12 percent and burglaries listed as “other,” such as those involving storage lockers, parking structures, and other locations that are neither businesses nor residences, were up by 44 percent.
Homicides remained stable with two cases, the data shows.
Robberies were down by 13 percent, continuing a steady downward trend over the past four years. Compared with 2017, robberies declined by 45 percent.
Grisafe said he suspected the downward trend in robberies was a result of solid work by officers, as well as the public becoming increasingly alert and aware of their surroundings, reducing opportunities to be taken off-guard by a robber.
Overall reported crimes in the city increased by 6 percent.