Murder rate down 33 percent in Long Beach, according to latest stats

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The murder rate in the city of Long Beach decreased dramatically from 33 in 2016 to 22 last year, making it the lowest rate in more than 50 years. (KABC)

The murder rate in the city of Long Beach decreased dramatically from 33 in 2016 to 22 last year, making it the lowest rate in more than 50 years.

"We had a reduction of 33 percent in murders in the city of Long Beach. So that number, of course, is significant on it's own, but in addition to that, it is the lowest number the city has ever recorded," Mayor Robert Garcia said.

According to newly released figures, half of last year's murders were gang related. In fact, gang related murders are down more than 40 percent from 19 in 2016 to 11 last year.

The mayor and police chief said there were a number of factors for the decreases, which include the recent passage of a 1 cent sales tax increase that's paid for more than 40 additional officers.

The Long Beach Police Department has close to 850 officers. Grant money has provided funds to pay for overtime, which the chief said has allowed officers to strengthen neighborhood ties and solve more than 80 percent of the city's murders.

"It's what we talk about every day. You go out and make great contacts and we emphasize with the officers that when we've had those unfortunate incidents where officers get shot, generally we get the information based on a relationship you developed out there," Luna said.

While the numbers show the overall crime rate in the city is down, the question is whether those who live and work in the area feel safe.

And that all depends on who you talk to. George Bravo said he feels pretty safe overall.

Henricus Elands said how safe he feels in the city varies.

"In a certain kind of way yes, and on the other way no. Since I'm wheelchair bound people always, like to harass and stuff like that," he said.

The only blemish on the crime report, according to the city, is that street crime, such as cellphone thefts, are up.

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