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Thriving Market for Stolen Parts Blamed for 22% Rise in Auto Thefts

January 26, 1989|ESTHER SCHRADER | Times Staff Writer

Auto thefts reported in Glendale increased by 22.7% in 1988, while burglaries dropped by 11%, according to police statistics released last week.

Glendale police attribute the jump from 1,328 auto thefts in 1987 to 1,630 in 1988 to a burgeoning underground market for stolen car parts and car stereo equipment. The overall rate of major crimes in Glendale did not change significantly from the 1987 rate, police said.

Car break-ins also increased, raising the city's overall theft rate by 2% over the previous year. The increase occurred even as other types of burglaries dropped by 11%, according to the statistics.

The figures are compiled and released annually by the Glendale Police Department's crime analyst.

"There is really a market for stolen auto parts, which we believe accounts for the increased number of thefts," Glendale Police Sgt. Dean Duran said. "There is also a low risk of being caught."

The rise in auto thefts reported in Glendale has contributed to Assemblyman Patrick Nolan's introduction this week of a package of bills to strengthen penalties for stealing cars.

Working With Assemblyman

The head of the department's auto theft detail, Officer Don Meredith, has been working with Nolan (R-Glendale) to develop the legislation in recent months.

Violent crimes were down 24% in 1988, with reports of aggravated assaults decreasing by 40.5%, according to the statistics. Aggravated assaults are generally defined as assaults with deadly weapons and those causing great bodily injury.

Police handled six murders in 1988, the same number as in 1987.

Rapes and attempted rapes increased by 14.3% from 1987, statistics show, from 28 to 32. Duran said more women reported rapes by their husbands or live-in boyfriends last year.

Arson decreased from 104 reported cases in 1987 to 44 in 1988, a drop of 57.7%. Duran said Fire Department officials attributed the change to new reporting procedures. Officials no longer classify fires set by children under the age of 13 as arson fires.

Overall, crimes against people and property in Glendale were down 0.1% in 1988, according to the police statistics.

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