Crime Down 6.4 Percent at Los Angeles International Airport

Airport sees significant drop in property crimes, only nine violent crimes for the year

Law enforcement officials at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) reported that overall crime in 2006 dropped 6.4 percent compared to 2005. This includes a 24 percent drop in property crime as passenger volume in 2006 of more than 61 million travelers was just under the 2005 level. The total number of crimes reported last year was 2,520, compared to 2,694 in 2005.

"LAX continues to be one of the safest airports in the world, and one of the safest areas in all of Southern California," said Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Brian A. Walker. He attributed the results to proactive crime prevention and joint law enforcement efforts, increased uniformed and plain-clothes officers and canines on patrol, crime trend analysis, and a comprehensive system of surveillance cameras.

Property crimes -- which include non-violent theft from individuals, as well as burglaries from businesses and vehicles -- decreased 24 percent to 973 incidents in 2006 from 1,273 in 2005. Theft from persons and petty and grand thefts dropped 20 percent to 850 incidents in 2006 from 1,068 in 2005. Burglaries from airport businesses rose to 17 incidents last year from six in 2005, and most of these were reports of random shoplifting. Vehicle burglaries (from locked cars) dropped 63 percent to 44 incidents last year from 118 in 2005. Theft from motor vehicles (from unlocked cars) dropped 34 percent to 46 incidents from 70 in 2005. Out of 14,007,612 vehicles parked last year in LAX's passenger terminal area parking structures and economy parking lots, 16 vehicles were reported stolen. This is compared to 11 stolen vehicles out of 14,502,409 parked at LAX in 2006.

"The majority of all property thefts at LAX were potentially preventable opportunity thefts, during which victims either did not pay attention to their belongings or surroundings, did not lock doors or close windows after parking their vehicles, or left valuable items in plain view in parked vehicles," said Chief Walker. He added that Airport Police conducted telephonic follow-up investigations from which 27 percent of property theft victims reported their property was found in other belongings, or returned by the airlines or Airport Police's Lost and Found Unit. Officers are continuing to contact property theft victims to determine whether more reports can be similarly cleared.

There were no homicides, rapes or kidnappings among the nine incidents of violent crime reported in 2006. This is compared to five incidents of violent crime in 2005, including the killing of an on-duty Airport Police officer. Aggravated assaults stayed the same at three incidents for 2006 and 2005. The number of reported robberies increased to six last year from one in 2005. However, according to Airport Police, there have been no robberies reported since last Nov. 4, when officers arrested three suspects who were about to commit a second robbery of a cashier's booth in an airport economy parking lot. In the airport environment, one arrest often leads to the resolution of several crimes. The number of arrests dropped seven percent to 1,206 last year from 1,299 in 2005.

Reports of vandalism to vehicles increased from 48 in 2005 to 59 incidents last year. An estimated 25,670,000 million vehicles used Central Terminal Area roadways last year.

The number of simple batteries dropped 22 percent to 50 incidents last year from 64 in 2005.

Miscellaneous "other" offenses, the largest single statistical category, increased nine percent to 1,429 incidents in 2006 from 1,304 in 2005. However, Airport Police attribute this increase to proactive law enforcement actions and new federal passenger and checked-luggage screening measures. Miscellaneous offenses include doing business without a license, misusing a handicapped placard, loitering, disturbing the peace, forgery, driving without a license or with a suspended license, possession of prohibited items or weapon violations, being drunk in public, and violations of the City's solicitation ordinance that Airport Police began enforcing last November after a federal court injunction was lifted.

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