Police Department’s targeted efforts having positive impact on crime

September 15, 2023 5:00 PM
by Lauren Howland

The Police Department’s proactive approach to addressing crime, combined with the City’s concerted focus on and investment in public safety, have had a significant positive impact on the community, according to a presentation of crime statistics presented by Santa Monica Police Chief Ramón Batista on Tuesday.

In the first eight months of 2023, the Police Department’s proactive work has resulted in arrests increasing by 34 percent compared to the same period last year, overall calls for service decreasing, and the portion of responses that are officer-generated — rather than coming from the community — has gone up.

Part I Crime, which is typically serious crimes like assault, robbery and burglary, rose by 5 percent, a total of 149 incidents, or about four per week over 2022.

During the same period, Part II Crime, which is typically lesser offenses involving property and misdemeanors, increased by 10 percent, accounting for 209 more incidents than 2022.

Increases in crime numbers are partly attributable to officers making more contacts and more arrests. Batista emphasized the Department’s proactive actions and increasing arrests is a significant step forward in the ongoing effort to make the city safer. Significant numbers so far this year from the Department’s specialized units also support that idea:

Batista acknowledged that the issues Santa Monica residents, business owners, and visitors face are very real and their concerns are being heard. He said that the dedication of additional resources and the strategic deployment of police personnel have led to great progress.

He pointed to the gains made on the Third Street Promenade, which sees anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 visitors a month, as an example of success in fighting both more serious and lesser crimes.

“The work between our Downtown Santa Monica business owners and the Downtown Services Unit officers and the Directed Action Response Team, the Public Service Officers, that is part and parcel to the success we are seeing on the Promenade,” Batista said. “And by no means does that mean that this is over, or we have total control over it. Because every single one of these incidents was a victim or somebody that was victimized and to me none of it is acceptable and that’s why we continue to focus on it to this day.” Batista also singled out the Homeless Liaison Program and Public Services Officers for making great strides in addressing quality of life issues in city parks and other public spaces.

“The impact, I believe, is effective and it’s impacting these statistics,” Batista said. “But it is really everybody. It’s the patrol officers working those beats, our professional staff, our officers doing great things in our parks. The work is just going to continue and we are not ever going to stop.”

With the Department fielding more than 100,000 calls annually, it's a team effort to make Santa Monica safe. And that includes the community efforts to collaborate with police by reporting crime and taking steps to make their home or business a more difficult target for criminals.

For more on police programs and how residents and business owners can help, click here.

Click here to view Chief Batista’s September 12 presentation to the City Council. You can find his full presentation here.

Authored By

Lauren Howland
Communications and public information manager