City crime rates continued annual decline in 2019

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File photo courtesy of the city of Paramount

The number of Part 1 violent/property crimes fell to a total of 1,596 last year compared to 1,761 in 2018. This is the fewest numbers of crimes in Paramount since 1973, when there were 1,567. Of course, in 1973, Paramount had about 35,000 residents. Today, that number is close to 56,000.

The overall statistics for 2019 revealed a steady 9% reduction compared to 2018. (See the chart inside this newspaper.)

Every property crime category had dramatic drops, except for a single-incident increase in arson. With violent crimes, there was one more homicide last year, though that number is less than the six from 2017. And an uptick occurred with robberies, which oftentimes involve meeting people for internet-related sales – which is why everyone should consider using the Safe Internet Purchase Exchange Zone for these transactions at the Paramount Sheriff’s Station.

If you look at the last 20 years, crime has dropped by 37%. This has been the result of the strong partnership between the City Council, the Public Safety Department, and the Sheriff’s Department over these many years.

In fact, Paramount took the innovative lead in law enforcement approaches as far back as the 1980s. Some of those programs included:

• Being the first “contract” city to place its logo on Sheriff’s vehicles to create a sense of community identity for deputies and residents alike.

• Maintaining a regular core of officers serving the City, where previously there were hundreds of rotating deputies.

• Creating a small storefront Sheriff’s substation, which over the years moved to bigger locations and in 2002 was upgraded to full station status.

• The first city served by the Sheriff’s Department to institute a Community Service Officer Program, non-sworn employees, who respond to certain calls thus relieving sworn officers of many “routine” duties and allowing them to focus on more serious crimes.

• Instituting the Beat System where the city is divided into four quadrants or beats, each with specific officers assigned there so they can learn more about quality of life issues affecting residents.

• Launching a prevention-oriented effort called the Good Neighbor Program to train landlords and managers on things like tenant screening and how to identify criminal activity.