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By Brian Hews
The Cerritos City Council has been contemplating budget cuts to save $6 million and balance the city’s budget for 2016-2017.
Budget Director Ryan Cary took over forty minutes to present proposed cuts at a past Council meeting.
The City Council received many ideas from residents at the last Council meeting during public comment, but a good majority of them would barely put a dent in the deficit.
Some have proposed cutting back the Senior Center and Swim Center hours, other want to cut the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts budget or outright sell the theater.
The City has also proposed a 1% sales tax increase, which would pump an additional $20 million a year into the city’s general fund.
But many residents have voiced their concern about “sales tax leakage,” residents going elsewhere to shop, and would rather curtail city services.
Among all the cuts the City and Council have been contemplating and the cut that is the most controversial is the Cerritos Sheriff’s station.
The station accounted for 78% of the $6 million in proposed budget cuts.
But predictably, many residents are worried about safety and response time if the Sheriff’s station is closed.
And some councilmembers have questioned whether the city is safer with its own Sheriff’s station or closing it in favor of deputies dispatched out of the Lakewood station.
In light of the budget cuts and statements by Council members, Hews Media Group-Community News conducted a study of FBI crime statistics and LA County Sheriff’s crime statistics that occurred in the City for the past 12 years.
Data was available from 2003 to 2014.
FBI crime statistics report only “Part 1” crimes. Part 1 crimes are more heinous in nature than other crimes and consist of criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft, grand theft auto, and arson.
LA Sheriffs report all crimes, Part 1, Part 2, and Non-criminal incidents. Those can include forgery, fraud and NSF checks, sex offense, non-aggravated assault, weapon offense against family, narcotic liquor/tobacco drunk – alcohol/drug, disorderly conduct, vagrancy, drunk driving, vandalism, receiving stolen property, person missing or found, suicide and attempt, mentally ill, accident, traffic, and person dead.
The results were interesting to say the least, and should generate additional debate on closing the Cerritos Sheriff’s station.
A synopsis of the FBI crime stats reveals 3,225 Part 1 crimes in 2014.
In 2003 4,348 Part 1 crimes occurred.
That equates to 1,123 fewer total Part 1 crimes in the City since 2003, a drop of 26%.
The chart below outlines 2003-2014 FBI Part 1 crimes and, with the exception of 2012, illustrates a corresponding downward trend.
A synopsis of LA County Sheriff’s crime statistics, only reported as of year-end 2013, shows a total of 4,705 crimes in 2013 versus 6,384 crimes in 2003.
That equates to 2,144 fewer total crimes in the City since 2003, a drop of 31%.
The chart below outlines 2003-2013 L.A. County Sheriff’s total crimes.
The drop from 2003-2013 was more pronounced than the FBI Part 1 crimes, but crime rose in several years, ultimately showing a downward trend since 2010.
The chart below outlines 2003-2013 total crimes in Cerritos and shows an overall drop of 2,253 crimes in Cerritos over the time period, with a math discrepancy due to LA Sheriff’s data only reported through 2013, with FBI through 2014.
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