Crime Log: Serious Los Alamitos crimes rise 4 percent in 2011

Serious crime, also known as Part One Crime, rose 4 percent in Los Alamitos in 2011. Larceny in general rose 9 percent. The increases broke with the trend of the previous four years, when Los Alamitos saw a steady decrease in Part One crime.

Last week, the Sun reported that Seal Beach saw a 5 percent increase in serious crimes. However, there were significant differences between the two cities. Seal Beach experienced a mass murder that skewed the data. Los Alamitos did not experience any homicides last year. Remember also that Los Alamitos has roughly half the population of Seal Beach.

Whenever you look at crime statistics, remember that the figures only reflect those crimes reported to or discovered by the police that the police consider to be valid reports.

Also remember that percentages can be misleading.

Part One crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, auto theft and larceny. Narcotics-related crimes are not included.

The good news for Los Alamitos was that there were no homicides—no deliberate killings of human beings—during 2010 or 2011. That was a zero percent change.

There was one rape reported to the Los Alamitos Police Department in 2011, as opposed to zero rapes reported in 2010. Technically, that was a 100 percent increase.

However, it should be noted that according to the National Crime Victimization Survey of 2005, about 60 percent of rapes go unreported. (The actual figure may be higher—the survey conducted telephone interviews with individuals 12 and over.)

First, the Sun looked at the general crime trends in Los Alamitos for the last several years. Then the Sun looked at all the 2011 Part One Crimes except larceny. That category is broken down into several subcategories and will be treated separately.

The trend

Los Alamitos Police Capt. Bruce McAlpine provided a chart of crime figures from 2001 to 2011.  The chart included a disclaimer: “Although a concerted effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this data, computer problems, system limitations, human error, or a variety of other factors may contribute to minor inconsistencies in these statistics.” That said, the chart showed a spike in crime in 2004 when there were 501 serious crimes reported in Los Alamitos. That was up from 390 in 2003.

After the 2004 spike, crime started a decline with 431 Part One crimes in 2005, increasing to 447 the following year, then dropping again to 439 in 2007, to 363 in 2008 and dropping down to 331 in 2010.

A year-to-year increase as small as 4 percent—that is, 13 more crimes than the year before—doesn’t really tell you anything statistically except that there was a small change in the total figures from 2010 to 2011.

Part one crime in 2011

There were 344 Part One crimes reported in Los Alamitos last year, 13 more than the year before. A small increase, but an increase just the same.

Generally, assaults were down last year. There were 30 simple assaults in Los Alamitos, eight fewer than the year before.

Technically, that made for a 21 percent drop. While the decrease is good news, the percentage makes the change seem a bit better than it was.

There was no change in aggravated assault from 2010 to 2011. There were six aggravated assaults in each of those years.  Burglary was up by 8 percent, with 80 reported last year—six more than the year before. Car theft increased from 26 in 2010 to 29 in 2011, technically a 12 percent increase.


Larceny includes picking pockets, purse snatching, shoplifting, theft from vehicles, theft of vehicle parts, bicycle thefts, thefts from buildings, thefts from coin machines and “all other” forms of larceny.

In Los Alamitos, larceny generally increased in spite of significant drops in thefts from buildings and vending machines. However, theft of car parts increased from nine in 2010 to 16 in 2011, a 78 percent increase.

There was a technical 100 percent increase in shoplifting incidents, with eight reported in 2010 and 16 reported in 2011. There were three purse snatchings in Los Alamitos last year as opposed to two in 2010.

Seventeen bicycles were stolen last year, two more than the year before.

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Crime Log Compiled
by Charles M. Kelly


Monday, February 20

Overdose—11:26 a.m.—Marvista Avenue—A 17-year-old boy was semiconscious. The Orange County Fire Authority was en route. He was taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. Report taken.

Vandalism—Noon—Ocean Avenue—A citizen’s car was egged between 10 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18 and 5:15 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 19. She said there was permanent damage to the paint. Report taken.

Burglary Alarm—12:21 p.m.—Taper Drive—No one answered the door. Police unit M6 checked the back yard. All doors were secured. The reason the alarm went off was unknown. No further police services were necessary.

Bees—1:29 p.m.—Goldenrod Street—Several thousand bees were reported swarming on the corner. Police unit 106 spoke with a homeowner who said he would contact pest control to remove the bees from his property. Log entry.

Tuesday, February 21

Traffic Collision, Without Injury—1:08 a.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard and Westminster Avenue—Two cars collided in the middle of the intersection. Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station Security personnel were present. Report taken.

Dead Animal—8:13 a.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller reported a dead dog at the surf line north of the Seal Beach Pier. Message delivered to Long Beach Animal Care Services.

Injured Pelican—9:33 a.m.—Seal Way—The caller said a pelican was on the boardwalk and not flying. Referred to Long Beach Animal Care Services.

Burglary Report—12:48 p.m.—Pacific Coast Highway—Someone broke into the vending machines at about 7 a.m. and took four bags of money. The suspect was described as a white man in his early 30s, 5 feet 10 inches, weighing about 180 pounds. Beat unit advised. Report taken.

Wednesday, February 22

Health and Safety Violation—11:39 a.m.—Pacific Coast Highway—The caller reported seeing two men smoking an unknown drug near a trash bin. The caller said this was an on-going problem. They were gone by the time unit 141 arrived.

Illegal Peddler—3:05 p.m.—Driftwood Avenue—A man was going door-to-door. Police unit 107 advised him to discontinue and he said he would comply.

Booking—8:52 a.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—An inmate who paid for the privilege of serving his time at the Seal Beach Jail was booked.

Disturbance, Noise—9:31 p.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—A jack-hammer caused the caller’s windows to rattle. The caller was sure the noise was coming from the gas station. The caller was canceled before a unit could be dispatched. According to unit 241, this was the same construction noise from the previous night. The construction crew had permits to be there. Unit 204 told dispatch that it was the same crew that was replacing manhole covers the night before.

Thursday, February 23

Walk-Thru—8:18 a.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller said the door appeared to have been pried open. The interior had not been checked.  Police unit 106 entered the location. There were no signs of pry marks or signs of entry. The door might have been left open by maintenance. No further police services were necessary.

Patrol Check—10:35 a.m.—Lampson Avenue—Police unit 106 did not observe any violations. The officer counseled two individuals against flying model aircraft in the park. Radio controlled planes are not allowed in the park. Log entry.

Fraud Report—2:41 p.m.—College Park Drive—Someone used the caller’s credit cards to buy tickets valued at $3,971. Report taken.

Water Problem—2:46 p.m.—Main Street—The caller said there was a flood in the lot. The caller did not know if it was due to the work being done in the area. The caller phoned back and said the water was from a drainage hose. A crew was working in the alleys.

Friday, February 24

Patrol Check—9:43 a.m.—Lampson Avenue—Unit 106 advised four individuals against flying model aircraft. They were unloading the models from their vehicles when the officer contacted them.

They did not violate the municipal code. Log entry.

Refusing to Leave—10:34 a.m.—Pacific Coast Highway—The caller said two men were setting up a table in front of the store, possibly to register voters.

A couple of customers complained to the caller that they were hostile.

When the caller asked them to leave, they became verbally abusive. Police unit 107 interviewed them in the field.

Suspicious Circumstances—3:10 p.m.—First Street and Pacific Coast Highway—The caller said there appeared to be a person or body under an orange top, 500 yards south of Pacific Coast Highway on the jetty on the north side of the waterline.

Police unit 107 told dispatch that it was just a tarp over some rocks. It was on the Long Beach side of the jetty.

The Long Beach Fire Department took care of the tarp. No further police services were necessary.

Saturday, February 25

Boat Problem—12:33 p.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller said a boat was smoking heavily as it attempted to make its way back to Huntington Beach Harbor.

Lifeguards were already aware and advised the boat had already made it into the harbor.


Patrol Check—9:56 p.m.—14th Street and Electric Avenue—The caller said there were approximately six juveniles loitering on the Greenbelt. They were gone by the time police unit 242 arrived.

Sunday, February 26

Burglary Report—8:11 a.m.—Pacific Coast Highway—A business was burglarized. Loss: a money box and keys.

Traffic Stop—12:09 p.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard and Westminster Avenue—As a result of this traffic stop, an individual was arrested on a warrant out of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Lakewood station for Health and Safety Code 11378—possession of methamphetamine for sale.


Monday, March 27

Disturbance—12:08 a.m.—Martha Ann Drive—The caller reported a physical fight between herself and a drunk friend.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—6:10 p.m.—Mainway Drive and Silver Fox Road—The caller said an SUV kept driving up and down the street.

Illegal Peddling—7:03 p.m.—Salmon Drive—The caller requested a patrol check for a man going door-to-door selling something. The caller’s neighbor reportedly saw a car shadowing the peddler. However, the caller could not provide a description of the car.

Tuesday, March 28

Burglary Report—8:17 a.m.—Harrisburg Road—This was a vehicle burglary.

Suspicious Person in Vehicle—1:08 p.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard and Katella Avenue—The caller saw a man dump something that was smoking on the asphalt. The man had a heavy duty canister in his hands and was wearing gloves. The man was described as appearing Hispanic, 30 to 40 years old, wearing a light blue or gray long-sleeved shirt and dark blue pants. The caller thought the man’s clothes resembled a uniform. The man was seen with a white Penski rental truck.

Disturbance—6:06 p.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard—The caller said a drunk employee was trying to drive away.

Burglary Alarm, Audible—8:12 p.m.—Silver Fox Road—The caller requested a patrol check for a house alarm that was going off across the street. The caller said she saw someone in the neighbor’s back yard.

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—8:48 p.m.—Martha Ann Drive—A boy who was home alone thought he heard someone in his house.

Wednesday, February 29

Identity Theft—2:26 p.m.—Martha Ann Drive.

Thursday, March 1

Abandoned Vehicle—9:31 a.m.—Martha Ann Drive.

Burglary Report—4:08 a.m.—Piedmont Avenue.

Friday, March 2

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—7:24 a.m.—Oak Knoll Drive and Weatherby Road.

Disturbance, Music or Party—3:53 p.m.—Martha Ann Drive.

Drunk in Public—6:38 p.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard and Farquhar Avenue.

Suspicious Person in Vehicle—7:19 p.m.—Martha Ann Drive.

Saturday, March 3

Suspicious Person or Circumstances—3:43 a.m.—Quail Run Road.

Vandalism Report—6:52 a.m.—Loch Lomond Road.

Illegal Peddling—8:33 a.m.—Kenilworth Drive and Wallingsford Road.