LONG BEACH — The rate of violent crimes continued to surge in the city in the third quarter, led by a 25% increase in murders from the same period last year, according to police statistics released last week.
The number of murders so far this year has already surpassed the total for all of 1989, officials said. Ninety-eight murders have been recorded so far; there were 97 in all of 1989.
There were 35 murders from July 1 to Sept. 30, up from 28 in the same period last year, the police report showed. Aggravated assaults rose 20.6%, from 846 to 1,021 in the same period.
Assistant Police Chief Eugene Brizzolara said: "The crimes-against-person increase is a reflection of the trend in society toward increasing violence, which can be attributed to the drug problem out there, gangs and a general decay of social mores."
Gangs are responsible for 41 of the 98 murders recorded so far this year, he said, "and we still have two months to go."
The number of crimes against property--such as burglaries, bike thefts and auto thefts--declined 4.5% in the third quarter.
To battle the increasing violence, 43 sheriff's deputies began patroling north and northeastern districts of Long Beach last week, a move that has freed 42 city police officers to work other parts of the city.
The transition at 12:01 a.m. Thursday went smoothly, according to Sheriff's Lt. Bob Mirabella, who is liaison between the two agencies. The only glitch came during the first four hours, when some 911 calls inadvertently went through the Long Beach Police Department. "But they have a one-button transfer, and it automatically then came back to us," Mirabella said.
"It was a software problem, and we resolved it," Mirabella said, with no calls delayed.