From SMPD Chief Cynthia Renaud
When I arrived in April of last year, I made a promise to the Santa Monica residents, businesses and the community overall that I would dedicate my first year to reducing crime and community outreach.
In the last month, Santa Monica has experienced a handful of unique and high-profile incidents that attracted media coverage and news helicopters. I understand how that may cause some to feel unsafe. I want to reassure when crimes occur you have an extremely professional and highly trained police force working to keep you safe every day.
For the year to date, we are experiencing a 15 percent decrease in our Part 1 crimes. These crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft. We have not seen a decrease like this in a few years.
We are seeing a significant decrease in car break-ins and assaults which are areas that we typically see the most crime. For car break-ins, we are seeing a 17.5 percent decrease, down by 120 incidents from last year in downtown alone. The busiest parking structures are seeing reductions in criminal activity, which can be attributed to a few new changes we imposed, such as private security patrols and an intensified focus on our crime suppression missions.
Yet, we are always looking for ways to improve and we feel that with everyone on board, we can make a greater impact. As your police chief, I am always concerned with the crime of assault and I know that it does not convey a feeling of safety in our community when assaults occur. The City of Santa Monica is unique in that we are a small city with a big city feel and we have appeal and draw for everyone.
I'm proud to share we recently hired 20 more officers to our workforce and we are working to reach our full staffing numbers. This means there are more police units out on the street to continue with our crime-fighting efforts and commitment to community outreach. As we start to wind down our summer experiences here in Santa Monica, we are already preparing for the upcoming holiday season.
Here are some reminders that go all season long:
See something, say something
Take it, hide it, lock it, secure it
Look up and look around
Remember, situational awareness is important regardless of where you are and what you are doing. We ask everyone coming into Santa Monica to take it, hide it and secure it. Do not make yourself a target. When you are aware of your surroundings, it is hard for anyone to take you by surprise. I ask you to stay vigilant. If you find yourself texting, sending photos or looking at your phone, take a quick moment to look up from what you are doing and see what is happening around you. If you see something, please say something. Call our 911 dispatch line or use our non-emergency dispatch number of 310.458.8495. You can even text us at 911.
And if you find yourself using one of the many shared mobility devices (scooters and bikes) here are some rules of the road for you to be mindful of:
Do NOT ride tandem. Only one person per scooter is allowed.
Do NOT ride on sidewalks.
Do NOT ride at the parks, on the beach bike path or on the promenade.
Do ride in the bike lane.
Do obey all traffic signs and signals.
I will continue to provide regular updates so you have access to accurate, timely information directly from the police department. I encourage you to register for SaMoNews, the City's bi-weekly e-newsletter that will feature my updates quarterly. The information will also be available on our website santamonicapd.org, via social media and in Seascape. In each update, I will share the latest on what we are doing to fight crime and what you need to know to stay safe.