I wrote a generally positive crime story in this week’s Sun. Believe me when I say that’s a rarity—even in Seal Beach, a place with streets that are seldom mean.
Crime overall went down last year. Most violent crime also went down.
Larceny remains a problem, but most of that appears to be theft from cars and buildings.
That’s only my opinion, of course, but it is an informed opinion.
I’ve been writing about crime most of my life. When I was 14, I decided I was going to be the world’s greatest mystery writer. On weekends, I often took the bus to Long Beach City College and looked up crime statistics. I read fiction and non-fiction about crime, policemen, and investigative procedures.
In spring of 1986, I became the police beat reporter for the Daily Forty-Niner at California State University, Long Beach.
I’ve been doing the Sun Crime Log for about eight years now.
All of which brings me back to my previous point: in my opinion, the streets of Seal Beach are safe. No doubt the police can see some areas that could stand improvement. So do I. I’m sure citizens who’ve been victimized would be willing to debate me.
That said, I stand by my words just the same. I am seldom afraid while walking Seal Beach streets at night. OK, I dislike walking past any shrub or hedge large enough to conceal a grown man, but that’s because I spend too much time reading the crime log.
I walk past dark alleys far more afraid of a motorist with a lead foot than a mugger. A foolish driver gunning it down an alley is a far more likely threat to my safety in Seal Beach. In my former city of Long Beach, I’d be more worried about criminals lurking in the shadows.
So, at the risk of being redundant, I will say yet again that Seal Beach is a safe place, even though I doubt I will never write the words, “No serious crimes were reported in Seal Beach last year.”
I’d love to write that story, but I don’t think such a story will ever be written anywhere. A man can dream, though.
All that said, I think Seal Beach residents can bring the crime figures down significantly in the years ahead. Of the 593 crimes that the Seal Beach Police Department knew about in 2012, 124 were thefts from vehicles—a category that includes both burglaries of locked cars and thefts from unlocked cars.
If every car owner in Seal Beach would simply lock their car doors, Seal Beach might see a significant reduction in larceny and free up time for officers to deal with other crimes.
If every car owner in Seal Beach would take their valuables inside or store those valuables in the trucks of their cars—in addition to locking the doors—Seal Beach might see an even greater reduction in larceny.
If every resident of a house with a garage used that garage for parking instead of as a substitute attic, Seal Beach might see an even greater reduction in larceny. (Not to mention increased parking space and higher property values.)
Will that happen? I know the police would appreciate it if citizens would leave valuables out of sight when they park their cars. I know police would appreciate it if citizens would lock their cars. Something tells me that if people don’t listen to the police, they are unlikely to listen to me.
Still, I pass the obvious, common sense, advice along in the forlorn hope that someday, somehow, I really will get to write the story: no crime to report. A man can dream, can’t he?