LBPD’s Aggravated Assault Estimates Are Incorrect; Department Reviewing Past Two Years Of Data

By Samantha Mehlinger


Following an inquiry made two weeks ago by the Business Journal regarding significant increases in violent crime, top brass at the Long Beach Police Department told the publication that there were errors in its crime reporting data. While statistics compiled by LBPD show that aggravated assaults were 59.4% higher than the five-year average as of October 2018, errors made in classifying crimes likely mean that this figure will decrease significantly once recalculated, according to Deputy Chief of Investigations Richard Conant.

Conant told the Business Journal that officials at the department noticed the “marked increase” in aggravated assaults and have been looking into it for the past several months. “We were trying to figure out exactly what was going on with that and why we were seeing that, because in conducting our daily business . . . we were not seeing that level of aggravated crime in the field,” Conant said in a phone call this afternoon.

An internal review revealed that staff had misclassified simple assaults as aggravated assaults in data reported to the FBI’s Universal Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Asked if the error was a result of staffs’ misinterpretation of whether a crime qualified as a simple or aggravated assault, Bureau Chief of Administration Jason Campbell responded that it was “a good characterization” of the situation.

According to Records Administrator Anna Reyes, an aggravated assault as defined by UCR is “an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury,” and is often accompanied by use of a weapon. Simple assaults are not included in the UCR’s violent crime category. However, Reyes characterized a simple assault as one that would not cause great physical harm, such as an individual spitting at another person.

It is up to human interpretation to determine whether a crime was committed with the intent of causing great bodily injury, Conant noted. He suggested that such an injury would likely result in stitches, broken bones or internal injuries.

The department is in the process of reviewing aggravated assault data reported in 2018, and Conant said he expects to release updated figures in the coming week. Data from 2017 is also likely to be reviewed. “Dependent on what ’17 reveals to us, it will tell us whether or not it extends to ’16,” Conant said of the review of crime reporting data.

In the meantime, Campbell said, “We implemented immediate tools to rectify this, which include more robust training and daily review of these statistics at the close of business. So we think we have gotten the bull by the horns to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

In other news. . .

Dignity Health Care Secures Naming Rights LA Galaxy Stadium

The home stadium of the LA Galaxy soccer team is being renamed Dignity Health Sports Park effective January 1. Dignity Health, a national health care system, operates St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach. It obtained the exclusive naming rights to the Carson stadium, currently known as the StubHub Center, through an agreement with operator AEG. The 125-acre sports park features an 8,000-seat tennis stadium, a 27,167-seat soccer stadium, a track-and-field facility and an indoor velodrome. Dignity Health is planning to partner with the club’s charitable arm, the LA Galaxy Foundation, to host several annual community events at the sports park. The provider will also offer in-stadium first aid and a mobile wellness clinic at the park throughout soccer season.

Public Meeting On Community Hospital Set For December 19

A meeting to provide information on the progress of Community Hospital’s re-opening is scheduled December 19. A brief presentation is expected from Molina Wu Network, the proposed new operator of the hospital, after which residents may provide input on what health care services they would like to see included in the renovated hospital. Third District Councilmember Suzie Price has invited residents to e-mail or call her office with questions at or 562/570-6300. The meeting is from 6-8 p.m. at the Long Beach Yacht Club, 6201 Appian Way.

Another Year of Record Cargo Volume For Port Of Long Beach

The port’s November performance of 621,835 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) makes it “virtually certain” that 2018 will be another record-setting year for the Port of Long Beach, according to a press release. Among the 7,349,377 units handled so far, imports continued to outpace goods shipped overseas, a trend the port’s Executive Director Mario Cordero chalks up to the impact higher tariffs have had on the flow of commerce. “American retailers are stocking up on goods made in China to avoid anticipated higher tariffs,” Cordero said. “You’re seeing the opposite effect on the other side of the ocean. Chinese businesses seem to be already looking to other countries for goods and raw materials, meaning there’s less demand for American exports and more empty containers are being shipped.” To date, cargo volumes handled by the port have risen by 7.3% in 2018.

L.A. Port Sees Fifth Month Of Exceptionally High Cargo Volumes

The Port of Los Angeles has been processing unusually high volumes of cargo for the past five months, as the amount of twenty-foot equivalent units processed by the port exceeded 800,000 each month since July, according to a press release. “In November, we processed a number of high-volume vessels brought into service to facilitate the holiday season cargo surge and accommodate the push to import cargo before tariffs that were previously scheduled to increase on January 1,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. One cargo ship contributed significantly to these record numbers. The Eleonora Maersk set a North American record for a single cargo vessel, loading and unloading 27,846 of the 832,331 total TEUs processed by the port in November.

Professional Services To Add 14,000 New Jobs in L.A. Basin By 2021

A new report from the Center for a Competitive Workforce (CCW) claims that the professional services sector may generate 14,000 new jobs in the L.A. Basin (Los Angeles and Orange County combined) between 2016 and 2021. Nearly half of this projection, over 6,300, is anticipated to be in middle-skill occupations that generally pay well and require less than a bachelor’s degree. The professional services sector includes knowledge-based jobs, such as legal services, accounting, computer services, architecture and engineering. The CCW report further estimated that, in addition to payroll employees, the total number of freelance workers hired on a per-project basis may rise to nearly 300,000. This figure underlines the growing importance of the “gig economy,” CCW stated in a press release, and should be noted by educators and policymakers moving forward.