Overall major crime decreased more than 6% last year

Reported serious Seal Beach crime decreased more than 6 percent overall last year. There were also fewer reported robberies and burglaries.

Larceny in particular—which is basically miscellaneous theft—decreased almost 10 percent.

However, some types of crime apparently increased. There were (two) more car thefts and six more assaults. Seal Beach also saw its first homicide since 2011.

Overall, 628 serious crimes were reported to the Seal Beach Police Department last year. In 2015, people reported 670 crimes to the police. In both years, most of those crimes were classified as “larceny” of one kind or another.

Those crime numbers do not include vandalism, embezzlement or arson. The Orange County Fire Authority keeps arson statistics.

Also, if two different crimes stem from the same act, Department of Justice guidelines say only the most serious of the crimes should be counted. Seal Beach follows Department of Justice guidelines in keeping crime statistics.

When looking at police crime statistics, remember that the figures only reflect those crimes reported to the police. Also remember that percentages without actual numbers can be misleading.

Before we look at more numbers we need to define terms.

Serious crime—so-called Part 1 crimes in the system created by the U.S. Department of Justice—include homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, car theft and larceny.

Larceny is a broad category of theft that, according to the FBI includes “thefts of bicycles, motor vehicle parts and accessories, shoplifting, pocket-picking, or the stealing of any property or article that is not taken by force and violence or by fraud.” Theft from a car is also a type of larceny.

Burglary is defined as entering a home or business to steal property. (However, according to Seal Beach Police Sgt. Michael Henderson, theft from an unlocked garage would be classified as larceny.)

Robbery is using the threat or application of violence to steal.

Violent crime

There was a more than 8 percent increase in assaults last year.  Police took 72 assault reports in 2015. Police took 78 assault reports last year.

There were three robberies in Seal Beach in 2016. The year before, there were five robberies. That’s a decrease of 40 percent.

There was one homicide in Seal Beach last year, the April 2016 murder of John Donnelly, 67, and his beloved dog Eddie, a Jack Russell terrier. Their bodies were found after firefighters put out a blaze in their home that was apparently an act of arson. Police have no leads in the Donnelly case at this time.

There were zero homicides in 2015. There is no percentage of change in the Seal Beach homicide data because a percentage is a fraction and you cannot have a fraction of zero.

There was one rape reported in Seal Beach in September 2016.  There have been no developments in that case. There were two rapes reported in Seal Beach in 2015.

Property crime

Car theft increased last year, but other kinds of theft decreased.

Larceny is generally the most commonly reported crime in Seal Beach.

There were 426 larceny-thefts reported to the Seal Beach Police last year. There were 472 larceny-thefts reported in 2015. That’s a decrease of 9.75 percent.

There were 80 burglaries of homes and businesses reported in Seal Beach last year. There were 82 reported the year before that—a decrease of more than 2 percent.

There were 39 car thefts reported last year.

There were 37 reported the year before that—an increase of more than 5 percent.