BY ARIEL CARMONA, JR.
Diamond Bar City Hall (Photo Courtesy: City of Diamond Bar)
Diamond Bar – In a mid-year report to the City Council during their June 17 meeting, Captain Jeffrey Scroggin and members of his staff at the Walnut/Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Station reported that overall, crime is down substantially in the City; and down 30 percent thus far in 2014, with theft-related crimes down more than 35 percent. Scroggin attributed the reduction in crime statistics to newly implemented programs, including a Special Problems Team consisting of deputies dedicated to address crime trends, ongoing neighborhood and business watch programs, and the City’s recently implemented rewards programs where residents are paid for providing tips leading to arrests of criminals in the area.
Scroggin said crimes reported to the FBI Uniform Crime Index in Diamond Bar include criminal homicide, forcible rape, burglary and arson. He added that crimes against persons are slightly up this year, but the numbers are still comparatively very low. There were 21 assaults in 2014 as opposed to 17 in 2013.
According to Scroggin, 12 of the assaults involved domestic violence. “Those are really situations we can’t control as a policing agency; that is in the home, but you can see that over half of our assaults involve some type of domestic violence,” he said.
There were three victims of rape in 2014, only one more than in 2013. “The rapes are very important crimes to us because that is such a violent act. I can report that we’ve had no stranger rapes, where someone’s been kidnapped off the street. All of our rapes have some type of association between the victims and the suspect,” said Scroggin. He added, “We are concerned with all rapes, obviously, because they’re a very bad crime, but we have had nothing where someone’s been walking in the park and assaulted in that manner, so we are very proud of that.”
Scroggin said the number one crime the department fights on a daily basis are crimes against property, such as robberies, burglaries and theft. There were six robberies this year, down from 16 last year. The department reports that residential burglaries are down more than 50 percent, with 50 fewer burglaries than last year. The Sheriff’s Department attributes the reduction to more arrests with more units patrolling the day shift.
Even though commercial burglaries are up slightly, 1.79 percent, theft-related crimes are down more than 35 percent. They are the single biggest contributor to the overall crime rate, including vehicle burglaries, petty and grand theft auto. Grand theft auto is down more than 50 percent, with only 19 cars reported stolen this year. There was also only one reported incident of arson.
“We’re a bedroom community, we don’t have a lot of violent crime, we don’t have a lot of gang crime, we don’t really have a lot of crimes that shock the conscience, but we do have those residential burglaries and thefts from the vehicles. In order to keep this downward trend we really need the entire community to take action, be mindful of their homes and their vehicles,” said Scroggin.
In other matters, the Council approved a packed consent calendar which included the approval of a contract with the Regional Chamber of Commerce, contract extensions for the Community Services Department, and the approval of an amendment to the vendor services contract with a consultant to extend the janitorial and building maintenance services for the Library, City Hall, the Diamond Bar Center, and the Heritage Park Community Center.
Councilmember Lyons asked for clarification for the amendment which added to the janitorial services contract for the Library for an annual amount of $43,325, since the facility is being operated by the County of Los Angeles. City Manager James DeStefano said the maintenance fee is for a three-year term. The fee was negotiated as part of a process in which the City looked at what it would cost to operate a new library which was physically two to three times larger than the existing library.
DeStefano added that the City negotiated that County would pick up all labor costs to support the new library, and the City would pick up the maintenance costs to assure that the facility remained at the standard the City holds for all of their other properties. “This was basically a trade-off of the maintenance costs for the labor costs that they would incur, and it worked well for us,” he said.
In other Council actions, they held public hearings on levying landscaping assessments for three lighting and landscape districts throughout the City. The Council also adopted a resolution approving the 2014 Citywide Speed Zone Survey, and approved a first reading of a an ordinance to amend the Diamond Bar Municipal Code regarding speed limits specified in City streets.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Diamond Bar City Council is set for July 1, at the AQMD/Government Center Auditorium, located at 21865 Copley Drive in Diamond