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A Conversation about Public Safety

Release Date: 2021-07-02

Over the past year, there has been an increase in gun violence across our country and here in Long Beach. Gun sales have spiked 64% and guns seized by our local police have increased by 51%. This is a national gun epidemic.

While shootings have increased – murders have not. We are 6 months into the year and as of today are two murders less than last year at this time. Overall murders are still at historic lows, especially when compared to the last 30 years.

I sat down today with Police Chief Robert Luna and City Manager Tom Modica to discuss our crime data and map out steps to take on crime moving forward.

As you can see in the chart below, murders have been on the decline since the 1990s. We are much safer today than we were 30 or 20 years ago.

This trend is also true for overall violent crime and assaults. All are on the decline. Below are the national and regional trends for many major cities in the first quarter of this year. You can see Long Beach is doing much better than many of our comparable cities. 

But shootings remain a serious concern that we must face.

We have spent much of the last 16 months addressing COVID-19 and public health. We are successfully meeting our Health Recovery. We have also invested in programs to support small businesses and have begun a strong Economic Recovery – now we must ensure a smart Safety Recovery.

In response to increased shootings and related public safety concerns, we’ve increased the ability of officers to work overtime as needed, established the Police Department’s Coordinated Response Team to address incidents with firearms, and expanded community initiatives like the Safe Streets and Neighborhood Walk Programs.

We’ve also worked with other departments from across the city to enhance violence prevention and workforce programs for youth. This includes increasing workforce, education and recreation opportunities for children and young adults.

Even with all of these investments, more must be done. I’ve asked our City Manager to develop a comprehensive Safety Recovery Plan to present to the City Council in the next couple of weeks.

Public safety is one of the most complex and important responsibilities of a city. I want to thank our police officers and city team who are working to address these complex issues around gun violence. As our new Safety Recovery Plan is developed and released, we will be sure to keep you updated. Taking on crime must be a top priority.

Thank you,

Mayor Robert Garcia