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As you have probably read in the last few weeks, Long Beach ended 2011 with the lowest murder rate in over 40 years. In fact, we had a substantial drop in many crime categories in Long Beach. While there have been increases in property crimes and robberies in some neighborhoods, our homicide numbers are lower than they have been in decades.
I am extremely proud of our Long Beach Police and Fire Departments for their stellar work and commitment to safe neighborhoods for everyone. However, in the coming years we will be facing numerous public safety challenges - especially the release of state prisoners into our communities. Due to lean city budgets, we have not grown our public safety departments. While it looks likely that we will have a Fire Academy Class in 2012, planning and funding for a Police Academy in 2012 is not yet finalized.
Next Tuesday, at 3:30pm, on January 31, as Chair of the City Council Public Safety Committee, I will be chairing a meeting to discuss a 2012 Police Academy and Police staffing levels. There is no question that we need to hire more police and firefighters - we just need to do so in a fiscally responsible way. Fortunately, our pension reform agreements with our Police and Firefighters will help us achieve this goal.
Also, if you live in the Washington Neighborhood, I will be co-hosting a meeting with our West Division Command Staff and the Washington Neighborhood Association to discuss crime levels and the recent terrible shootings that have happened in this community. Join us this Thursday at 5:45pm for refreshments - the meeting starts at 6pm at the Long Beach Rescue Mission Offices at 1335 Pacific.
Thanks again, and Go Long Beach,
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